Medical Aid for East Timor

Bairo Pite Clinic: Healthcare and Medicine Conference

10-11 August 2013
Madison, Wisconsin USA


The purpose of the meeting is to strengthen the network and to facilitate a better understanding of the network surrounding the Bairo Pite Clinic (BPC), its various projects, needs, players and efforts to benefit the clinic, clinic satellite projects and health care overall in East Timor. Others may identify additional ways to support the clinic and/or benefit healthcare in East Timor. For more details, please visit MedicalAidEastTimor.com.


Medical Aid East Timor (MAET) is an almost thirteen year old project which raises money exclusively for East Timor's flagship clinic, the Bairo Pite Clinic (BPC), located in Dili, East Timor. The Bairo Pite Clinic is a full service acute care clinic, operating in one of the ten poorest countries of the world.

East Timor, or Timor Lorosae (translated as "Timor of the Rising Sun") recently became the worlds newest country. On this beautiful half island nation of dry tropical forests and high mountains on a dusty road in this coastal capitol city, doctors, medical students, nurses, midwives, lab staff, pharmacists, paramedics, dentists, AIDS social workers, administrative staff, laundry room and clinic facility staff, kitchen staff, visiting and local volunteers and other support members in consort with Dr Dan Murphy attend daily to an average of 200 to 350 people, with a growing group of inpatients. The actual number of clinic visitors on any given day is probably even higher.

Volunteer doctors and medical staff from countries worldwide may also see and treat patients on any given day. The clinic's small inpatient wards are visited twice daily and no one leaves unseen by the end of a day. Dr Murphy is still in his office frequently into the evening, on call 24 hours, often returning to check on patients and unresolved details.

For many years now the BPC staff have been recognized by Timorese as providing no fee, trusted and reliable healthcare on request, often in local language and/or dialect.

Patients with diseases we in the west may be only vaguely aware of are a regular feature at BPC. Diseases like resistant and non-resistant forms of malaria, variants of dengue fever and tuberculosis are common. Other health problems include infant enteric dysentery, various parasites and opportunistic diseases often attributed to malnutrition, and lack of simple vitamins, minerals and adequate diet.

A new addition and improvements to the maternity clinic at Bairo Pite will allow for more specialized prenatal and postnatal care. Both mothers and infants will benefit from the addition. The new building is emblematic of the commitment to women's health at the Bairo Pite Clinic.

What does the Bairo Pite Clinic offer?

Bairo Pite provides the best private and public medical library on the island. Its laboratory services are one of the best, if not the best, on the island. The clinic offers unprecedented experience in diagnosing and treating tuberculosis in all its forms. The clinic offers medical services in local language or, if necessary, most dialects. The clinic provides treatment as needed, regardless of ability to pay for services.

No matter if you have a couple of hours, a couple of dollars or a couple of boxes of material aid, MAET maximizes your support in benefiting the Bairo Pite Clinic in East Timor/Timor Lorosae.

It takes a bare minimum of over $6,000/month, and rising, to maintain basic services at the clinic, but the reality is that we need far more to continue giving, improving the quality of care at BPC and training the next generation of Timorese health professionals. Timorese medical staff are paid a pittance of $50 to $350 per month and may have to go without pay if monetary resources are short. If and when monetary resources exceed expenditures improvements can be tackled forthwith. The Bairo Pite Clinic staff, with support from the Government's Health Ministry (SAUDE), have worked hard to build the foundation for a healthcare service which improves the poor health of these impoverished people. The government and the Health Ministry made tough decisions, sometimes controversial, which today benefit the health needs of rural Timorese.

Even with seemingly insurmountable odds, much has been achieved. More doctors than ever before operate on the island, the number of clinics operating is increasing and the opportunity to see a physician is not as difficult as before. Hundreds of Cuban doctors dot the countryside, albeit in somewhat isolated locales, with few resources and limited language skills. Fortunately hundreds of East Timorese medical students are receiving a medical education in Cuba and elsewhere. In the very near future they will be practicing in East Timor. Finally, an impressive central pharmacy was set up as a more reliable source for basic medical supply needs of the islands medical community.

Unchecked health problems still remain, and events such as the recent May and June 2006 civil unrest hindered long term continuity of healthcare programs. But on a positive note, during the unrest, Bairo Pite Clinic treated many victims and was the temporary home for over 600 people seeking safe refuge from the violence. The unrest stretched clinic resources to even thinner margins all around. Yet to this day BPC is still providing much needed safety and health services, as it has since the 1999 referendum on East Timorese Independence.

MAET is particularly proud of the Timorese medical staff who continually increase their knowledge and apply it to serving the sick or ill, the injured, the infirm and those in failing health. BPC staff have a commitment to these people seeking healing, understanding and respect for their plight. We now have a better trained Timorese staff, a wider range of available services and a tradition of service to the poor, sick and needy of this island.

Medical Aid East Timor is gratified that in almost 13 years so much has slowly changed on the island. This change is due in a small but important way to all the worldwide monetary support which Bairo Pite relies on.

What MAET Guarantees

MAET guarantees that 100% of all donations go directly to East Timor to benefit the staff and patients of the Bairo Pite Clinic. MAET does not raise money for itself or for its operating costs. MAET relies only on longtime friends and small in kind grants to cover its limited expenses. MAET encourages any and all donations for BPC, great and small, whether monetary, material or volunteer. MAET appreciates small as well as larger contributions equally. MAET uses your address in house only, if at all.

Even a few dollars can mean some medication is purchased, or another village will benefit from a mobile clinic, or another bandage, medication or lab test is available to a patient. All checks should be made payable to: MAET Clinic Fund

All donations may be sent via U.S. Mail to:

Medical Aid East Timor
c/o Stokes,
P.O. Box 3382,
Madison, Wisconsin 53704-0382

E-mail: elliotisaacstokes@gmail.com

Phone: 303-895-9128 (Elliot) or 608-241-9135 (Tom)

Web sites

Material Donations

Material supplies are graciously appreciated, if we can accept them. Governments sometimes have regulatory oversight on some materials. Date expired drugs and old or damaged material or medical supplies, in particular, may be a disposal problem and can be disrespectful of local needs; MAET may not be able to accept such donations except in rare, special situations. Please contact us to coordinate any material donations. All checks should be made payable to: MAET Clinic Fund

All donations may be sent via U.S. Mail to:

Medical Aid East Timor
c/o Stokes,
P.O. Box 3382,
Madison, Wisconsin 53704-0382

E-mail: elliotisaacstokes@gmail.com

Phone: 303-895-9128 (Elliot) or 608-241-9135 (Tom)

Web sites

Volunteer

To volunteer resources, time or skills to the Bairo Pite Clinic, please contact MAET and/or the BPC web site (see below).

BPC and its associated projects needs include, but are not limited to, medical support, plumbers, heavy equipment operators, electricians, computer specialists (hardware or software), auto or diesel mechanics, gardeners, videographers, construction workers, water engineers, solar energy installers... There are very few skills which cannot be utilized somewhere at sometime. Please contact us about further details.

In the medical field, BPC needs volunteer registered nurses (maternity or other) and medical staff in all fields including nurses and paramedics, surgeons and general practitioners, dentists, dental assistants, ER staff, lab technicians, medical administrators, pharmacists, medical and nursing students, pre-med students, nutritionists, midwives, social workers, specialists and educators in sexually transmitted diseases and alternative medicine practitioners.

On a recent visit to BPC, volunteer doctors from Thailand, Ireland, Portugal and Australia worked as volunteers. Pre-med students from Australia, South Korea and the USA and medical students from Australia and Great Britain provided valuable support services and actively worked and consulted with clinic doctors. Volunteers from New Zealand worked full time on administrative duties, a Japanese man worked on TB and maternity issues. Film crews from New Zealand, California (via Ireland), Australia and elsewhere were working on educational and promotional videos. Clearly BPC is a vibrant international effort!

Needed Desperately: MAET is seeking a grant writer, someone who can produce grant proposals and fundraising letters that our limited appeals requires. (Posted 3/2009)

It will be a while before the East Timorese will be self sufficient in medicine, but it can and will happen. In a decade the oil money will afford a better future for this 'Spice Island'. Hopefully East Timor will no longer be (financially)in the bottom ten countries of the world. In the interim surely we can send some relief; they desperately need your help. All checks should be made payable to: MAET Clinic Fund

All donations may be sent via U.S. Mail to:

Medical Aid East Timor
c/o Stokes,
P.O. Box 3382,
Madison, Wisconsin 53704-0382

E-mail: elliotisaacstokes@gmail.com

Phone: 303-895-9128 (Elliot) or 608-241-9135 (Tom)

Web sites

Bairo Pite Clinic Today

BAIRO PITE Clinic Statistics in Fiscal Year 2008

Bairo Pite served a total of over 226,600 patients in all services areas. Total number of Mobile Clinics was 500, 18 separate rural sites visited at least monthly, with a total of 24,355 people served. Over 16,000 vaccinations were administered at Mobile clinics.

Services provided by the Bairo Pite Clinic include:

  1. Tuberculosis (TB) treatment and control: There are now more than 1,000 patients registered in the TB program, which includes treatment, education, and follow-up care. Beds at the clinic are reserved for those TB patients too sick for outpatient treatment or for those coming from distant areas. Twenty additional beds for longer-term TB treatment are located at Sister Lourdes’ Kolohun site, which is visited by Bairo Pite staff twice a week.
  2. Maternity and infant care: Four beds are devoted to maternity services at the clinic, which averages 60 to 100 deliveries per month. The clinic has enlarged the maternity area of the clinic and continues to improve water quality to reduce the chance of infection for mother and newborn. Due to its maternal care commitment, Bairo Pite clinic has been continuously chosen (since May 2001) to participate in a national midwife training program.
  3. Malaria, gastroenteritis, and pneumonia: Ten inpatient beds are used primarily for less common but dangerous diseases, such as malaria, gastroenteritis, and pneumonia.
  4. Dental services: Dental care includes extractions, and will soon expand to restorative work and training due to an Australian Development project.
  5. Vaccinations: Vaccinations for DPT, polio, measles at a minimum (UNICEF) standard are given at the clinic.
  6. Health outreach: The clinic participates in many mobile clinics in the remote and often-neglected mountainous areas, and receives patients from all over the country. Dr. Murphy is working to develop a program of health promotion and prevention with links to mountain villages, with the Bairo Pite Clinic serving as the training site for village health workers. However, more funding is needed to make this program a reality. Clinic staff also assists with local radio and TV programming on health issues as part of their public education efforts.
  7. Training for East Timorese health care workers: Dr. Murphy has been working with 10 Timorese medical students who began their studies in Indonesia. They are unable to return to their former schools to finish their education. Five students have been able to resume studying overseas, and Dr. Murphy is assisting the others in their attempts to attend Western medical schools. Nursing students from LaHane, East Timor also rotate through Bairo Pite clinic as part of their training in practical skills

In addition, the Bairo Pite Clinic has one of the best small laboratories in Dili, offering basic hematology, urine, stool, blood group, electrolyte, liver function test, serology, pregnancy, parasitology and some chemistries, a general clinical and a TB ward, an adequate pharmacy, with most but not all needed medications available, a kitchen, laundry facilities, water supply system, and a power generator. A computer center is sorely needed that will provide medical information and training to health care workers and others interested in medical topics, but has not yet been funded. The center will be used to keep staff updated on advancements in medical knowledge through high speed Internet links to medical libraries in Australia and the US. At present, Internet service is slow and limited to copper wire data transfer via modem.

The Bairo Pite staff currently numbers sixty people and services are available to all who ask regardless of ability to pay, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Funding from the District Health Services in East Timor has subsidized funding of the clinic in the past, but shortfalls have traditionally left the clinic in a perilous position. Any assistance is greatly needed and appreciated.


Medicine in East Timor

The importance of monetary and material support for the East Timorese cannot be overstated. In the post-election violence of September 1999, many medical facilities were looted, trashed or burned. The Motael clinic and most other clinics of East Timor were destroyed.The Bairo Pite Clinic began in the flames of the 1999 retreat by Indonesian troops after the referendum of that year, in a former Indonesian Air Force compound. Preventable diseases, often precipitated by malnutrition, like tuberculosis, malaria, fungal and bacterial infections and water borne parasites are common. Mental illness is not unknown, often stemming from the extended periods of violence in the 1990s. Vicious and inhuman assaults and the ravages of continuous conflict also contribute to the medical and emergency needs of East Timor. 

The following documents provide information about the state of medical care in East Timor:




MAET's Purpose & History

Medical Aid for East Timor was started in 1996 by a number of individuals in Madison, Wisconsin at the request of an East Timorese internal resistance leader, who saw a particular need for medical supplies and financial assistance to the ravaged communities of East Timor. MAET has worked for over a decade to deliver monetary support, medicines and other useful supplies to doctors and medical professionals at the Bairo Pite Clinic and its associated projects.

While primarily focusing on aid to the Bairo Pite Clinic, MAET also does the following work:


How You Can Help

MAET is always looking for committed individuals who wish to help bring quality medical care to the people of East TImor. If you'd like to help, consider lending your time in one of these ways:



Medical Aid t-shirt

Made In the USA white T-shirts with the multicolor Medical Aid East Timor/M.A.E.T. logo.

Cost $20.00, $25 for oversize, plus $2.50 Shipping and Handling by U.S.P.S.
Please allow 4 weeks for delivery.
Cash or check (MAET is not responsible for loss of cash in the mail).
All checks should be made payable to Medical Aid East Timor.

Please send all orders to:

M.A.E.T. T-shirt Fund, c/o Stokes,
PO Box 3382
Madison WI USA 53704-0382

All T-shirt sales benefit the www.medicalaideasttimor.com web site.

Dan Murphy's Plaque from East Timor President Ramos Horta

PRESIDENTE DA REPUBLICA

His Excellency President of the Republic of Timor-Leste, Dr Jose Ramos-Horta confers

DOCTOR DANIEL MURPHY
Founder and Director of the Bairo Pite Clinic, with the Medalha de Merito de Timor-Leste, for service to Timor Leste.

Dr Murphy and his colleagues at the Bairo Pite Clinic have provided a continuous and reliable source of free health support to the population of Timor-Leste during arduous circumstances and often when little other support was available.

Dr Murphy's vision and tireless commitment has resulted in the Bairo Pite Clinic becoming the largest and most successful non-government sponsored clinic in Timor-Leste.

Dr Daniel Murphy is a most remarkable man who has dedicated his life to the service of others less fortunate. His profound commitment to building an institution that serves the interest of the sick and needy is an inspiration to all, a great legacy for the people of Timor-Leste and a true reflection of his extraordinary character and spirit.

Jose Ramos-Horta
President of the Republic
Dili, 20th of May, 2009