On ‘world heart day’ – we remember – RHD is preventable!

What are you doing to celebrate world heart day?

For many of us, world heart day means remembering to set exercise goals, eat more healthily or plan to quit smoking- we hope you also do something to protect your heart today!

For the RHD team at Maluk Timor, world heart day is a reminder to work even harder to end rheumatic heart disease – the preventable disease that is affecting the lives of thousands of children globally each year, including here in Timor-Leste.

Ricky using the portable scanner looking for heart value damage

For kids living with RHD, every single day is heart day and every single month is another visit to the clinic and another painful injection to keep their hearts safe from further damage.

For these brave kids their penicillin injections are life-saving and Maluk Timor is proud to have supported delivery of more than 1,300 of penicillin injections throughout Timor-Leste so far this year.

Practicing on Oranges – the thick penicillin needles hurt a lot 🙁

Penicillin is vital for these kids but it is only part of the answer.

We are enthusiastic to be working so closely with our colleagues in the MoH (ministry of health), hospitals and community health centres to develop a national rheumatic heart disease strategy and to increase the capacity of health care workers to prevent and respond to this deadly and preventable form of heart disease.

In September the team travelled to Baucau, Lautem and Lospalos to provide training to doctors, nurses, midwives and pharmacists about ARF and RHD. Altogether 70 nurses, doctors, midwives, pharmacists and health administrators participated in these training sessions where patients and practitioners shared their experiences of ARF and RHD.

Dr Joaquina teaching at a Community clinic

Anary teaching about RHD

This offered a great opportunity for the Maluk RHD team to learn from our colleagues in the Baucau and the Lautem districts and to work together to troubleshoot problems and have meaningful discussion about care of RHD patients and the safe administration of intramuscular penicillin.

Dr Josh Francis (board member) teaching how to look for heart value damage.


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.