Last week the Maluk Timor Nursing team were supporting Ministry of Health nurses to triage patients at outpatients of Becora Community Health Centre (CHC). It was a very busy day – in total 111 adults and 89 children were seen in triage.
As part of triage all the children are screened for malnutrition. That day 8 children were found to have moderate malnutrition and 2 had severe malnutrition. These children had not previously been seen by the nutrition team and would have easily been missed if it were not for the triage system, which was set up by the Maluk Timor team in 2019.
Severe malnutrition, if not diagnosed and treated, can lead to life-threatening infections and complications. Fortunately,all the children are now under the care of the nutrition team at Becora and will be followed up by them.
Over the 8 week implementation of the triage system at Becora CHC the team have helped triage over 3000 patients, with 178 being picked up as high risk of a life-threatening health condition. This included patients with hypertension (over 200 systolic), patients in respiratory distress and a number of young children with possible sepsis, all of whom were taken to the emergency department.
The triage system ensured these patients were seen promptly and given the medical treatment they needed. Before triage was set up, these patients would have waited alongside everyone else for their turn, and may not have made it to the doctor in time.
This week at Becora the nursing team completed the training of an additional 5 nurses in Becora CHC in the triage system. This takes the total nurses trained to 32 which is 1/3 of all Dili CHC nurses. Now all 5 CHCs in Dili, which see 80% of the population, havethe right space, equipment and training to triage patients in their outpatient departments This is a simple system that saves lives, which we take for granted in countries like Australia.
The impact of the Maluk Timor triage project, supported by an Australian Friendship Grant, has achieved beyond expectations. This week at Comoro CHC we completed refresher training for nurses, which not only included OPD nurses but also 24 volunteer nursesfrom the districts.
These nurses will support Comoro CHC with triage whilst they volunteer there, but then they will take the skills they learn to the districts once they are employed. In this way, the Maluk Timor program is reaching beyond Dili and the CHCs we work within, which is essential for ensuring every Timorese person gets access to quality care, when and where they need it.
For the Maluk Timor Nursing team 2020 is about consolidating these fantastic achievements. The CHCs still need support to train new nurses and maintain the system and equipment with regular check ups. With the completion of the Friendship Grant, we need donors support to do this and make sure that this system is sustainable for the long term.