Training Timorese Nurses & Midwives: building capacity, skills and competence

In the years since the war, Timor-Leste has struggled with providing high-quality care due to the scarcity of senior nursing staff.

Far from being confined to hospital work, most nurses and midwives will be practising in one of the 92 community Health centres (CHC’s) or 192 Health Posts.

The task of maintaining competency and high clinical standards across so many sites in such a geographically challenged nation is a tall one.

Nurse & Midwife Training in Timor-Leste

The National Institute of Health (INS) is charged with this responsibility, and has taken many positive steps to address the training needs of nurses and midwives across the country.

A number of other key partners, such as St John of God, the World Health Organisation, UNICEF and John Snow International have also made major contributions to this work. However, much remains to be done, and more resourcing will be required to scale up the programs being delivered.

The largest training need for the medical workforce of Timor-Leste is in primary care training

The Timorese Strategic Plan target is to have:

 1 doctor, 2 nurses, and 2 midwives for each of the 192 community health posts by 2020.

How Maluk Timor is helping upskill the next generation of nurses & midwives

1. Working with other NGO’S

Maluk Timor intends to collaborate with the Ministry of Health, St John of God health care, INS and John Snow International to contribute to the optimisation of several CHCs as clinical training sites (Vera Cruz, Comoro, Covalima).

This will involve ongoing assessment of personnel resourcing needs, of systems strengthening, and also clinical training of midwives and nurses.

2. Competency Assessment Program

We work with partners to assess the current competency and training needs of nurses and midwives working across young nation.



Maluk Timor staff working on training programs to be implemented into local CHC’s

3. Side by side Training Workshops

These workshops happen weekly within the different CHC’s.

4. Winning community trust

Raising the clinical standards of these staff is a crucial step not only in ensuring better care for patients, but also in winning the trust of the community.

Too often patients avoid clinics and hospitals, preferring to seek faith healers or herbal remedies, sometimes with tragic results.

Part of our vision at Maluk Timor is to help our counterparts in the government clinics build that confidence in the community, which leads to increased vaccination rates, safer births, and better health generally.

Senior Midwife talking to young mothers about caring for their children

This whole program is being built as a model for the Timorese government to adopt and expand to cover the entire nation.

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