The value of good nursing care in TL

Any of us who have ever been sick or hospitalised know the value of a great nurse. Doctors breeze in and out but it is the nurses who so often make the difference.

We know that the quality of the patient experience matters almost as much as the clinical care: the health system in Timor-Leste is still trying to win the confidence and trust of the community who have long preferred traditional medicines, and a positive experience at a health centre makes them far more likely to return.

Dinis was 21 years old when he left Timor-Leste to take up an opportunity to study nursing in Brazil. This required further language study – 6 months of Portuguese – and leaving his family far behind for five years of intensive study in a foreign land.

Dinis returned to Timor-Leste in 2018 with a full nursing qualification and then worked six months in the Dili National Hospital to achieve registration.

The contrast between Brazil and Timor-Leste was stark. Timor-Leste’s health system is less than 20 years old and remains seriously under-resourced: “I hope that in the future we can get many health staff to support and help the health system to become better and better.”

Dinis now works with Maluk Timor as a nurse educator, sharing the skills and knowledge he learned in Brazil. He recognises that education and professional development of the health workforce is the key to a brighter future: “Something that motivates me to be a nurse educator is to support the staff and improve the capacity to develop a better system.”

Working with Maluk Timor, and supported by Rotary and the Australian Government’s DFAT Friendship Grant, Dinis and the team are establishing triage systems in community health centres in Dili District.

Triage systems enable nurses to assess the condition of patients as they arrive and quickly recognise those who are critically ill or in need of urgent care.

By the end of 2019, Maluk Timor will have established triage systems in five community health centres, covering almost a quarter of the national population, transforming the way health care is being delivered. @DFAT #SDG3 #FriendshipGrant


Help us do even more

Even though healthcare in Timor-Leste has improved, there is still so much more to do.  

A small amount of money goes a long way with the per person health budget less than US$100 per year. 


Covers the cost of petrol for a month so a healthcare worker can provide home visits around Dili.

$58 p/month

in 12 months

Covers the cost of running a nutrition referral project in one community healthcare centre.

$650 p/month

Covers the full cost to employ a nurse who can help deliver our programs.