Oral Health Program

Improving skills, capacity and confidence of oral health workers

Healthier smiles means better health

Since independerrnce Timor-Leste has increased its oral health workforce to seven dentists and forty-six dental nurses. 

Despite these small wins, oral health remains an underfunded area with major gaps in the nation’s healthcare.

There is less than one dentist for every 50,00 people.

What are we doing?

Providing Clinical Expertise and Knowledge sharing

We support the clinical services delivered at our partners at Ryder-Cheshire Klibur Domin. We also engage support other NGO clinics to receive dental consumables and equipment via Australia and other countries.

So far we have:

Supported 3 oral healthcare partners

Public education in oral health

We conducted cash-prized social media campaigns surrounding World Oral Health Day on the importance of tooth brushing (poem and tooth brushing video demonstrations).

We received participation across Timor-Leste, Portugal and Brazil.

So far we have:

Run our first social media campaign

Developing standardised guidelines

The development and implementation of treatment guidelines is an important strategy for ensuring that dental treatments and medicines are provided safely, appropriately, effectively, and at the lowest cost.

Guidelines help oral health care professionals make decisions about the best way to treat a patient

. They also help as well as promoting standards of practice and improve the quality of health care

So far we have:

Clinical support given to 2 oral healtcare partners

Nationwide engagement and advocacy

We are actively engaging with professional groups  to  advocate for a greater focus on oral health.

We are currently funalising an agreement with the National Dental Association Timor-Leste (ADETIL) to ensure alignment on our oral health efforts.

Together we will work to establish systems that increase engagement and professional development support.

So far we have:

Drafted our first agreement with ADETIL

Training an emerging oral health workforce

Dental nurses have received limited professional development and little ongoing support to enable them to carry the burden of providing sustained care for the population.

While other parts of the health sector have received much more attention, the oral health workforce remains underserved.

We want to upskill dental nurses, sufficiently equip community health centres and test a competency-based professional development model in Dili.

So far we have:

Our first module has been created and is in review

The oral health team


Sanjay Mathew

Grant and Monitoring and Evaluation Manager
I work with oral health, nutrition and operations at MT. The words that I would like to use to describe the work I do are brave, intense, significant, exciting and ridiculous.

Efigenia Pereira dos Santos

Dental Nurse
Do you know there only seven government dentists in all of Timor-Leste! I’m sad that Oral Health is not a priority in my country – I hope that one day soon this recognition will come.

Who we work with on this program?

Timor-Leste Ministry of Health
Timor Leste Dental Association

How your donation helps

A little goes a long way to improving health in Timor-Leste
Oral health campaign


over 12 months

Covers the running of a oral health social media campaign.

Professional Development Events


would have covered the full cost of our first professional development event

Oral health equipment


over 12 months

Covers the cost of oral health equipment for one Community health care centre.