Let me introduce you to Rofina dos Santos, a formidable force within Tuberculosis (TB) in Timor-Leste, and the person we are fortunate enough to call Maluk Timor’s TB Program Team Leader.

Rofina has been working in TB for a whopping 12 years, and considering she is still young herself, that is a large percentage of her life that she has dedicated to working against this deadly infectious disease.

Starting work initially as a volunteer at Bairo-Pite Clinic, Rofina has developed skills in a number of areas of TB care including counselling, education and contact screening. She now leads the team of 5 healthcare workers, and describes teaching and developing her team as one of the highlights of her job.

Rofina is well respected within the TB healthcare worker community, and is the person in the know. She is forever receiving phone calls to try to get hold of that medication that has run out, or contact details for a TB worker in a remote district. And she is always happy to help. With her diligence, organisational tenacity and decisiveness, the team wouldn’t be the same without her.

As Rofina says ‘most people in Timor know a friend or someone in the family that has TB,’ but sadly, despite this, knowledge of TB remains very poor. One of Rofina’s passions is giving health promotion about TB to educate her fellow country men. Knowledge is a powerful tool in the fight against TB.

Last year, after many months of hard work, balancing work and study, Rofina proudly received her Masters in Public Health from UNPAZ University, Dili. ‘One of my dreams was to study at university, I felt very proud and happy when I could finish, and I would like to say thank you to Dra Charlotte Hall and Dr Paul Sukijthamapan for sponsoring me so that I could study.’

So why does Rofina choose to work at Maluk Timor? Rofina describes Maluk Timor as ‘knowing everyone, it’s like family’. With huge pride in her team she loves the way ‘everyone helps each other, to help so that in the future we can stop TB in our country.’ And we all certainly hope that this aspiration comes true.

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