Dr Clare Nourse
Board of Directors and Chair, Maluk Timor Medical Advisory Committee, Fortunate Individual
Paediatrician and Infection Specialist, Queensland Childrens’ Hospital; Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Queensland.
Timor Leste, one of Australia’s closest neighbours, is a country with one of the lowest standards of healthcare in the world. Children and families are suffering and dying from treatable and preventable illness. As a doctor in Australia who frequently visits Timor, I am continually dumbfounded and inspired to action by the enormous difference in health opportunities between the two countries. There is enormous potential to collaborate with Timorese health care workers and the Timorese government to support and educate and to improve health outcomes.
Maluk Timor developed from a small group of committed, passionate volunteers to become an organisation, a family with more than 60 members that is deeply engaged with the people, communities, health care workers and the Timorese government to work together to relieve suffering, to develop health capacity and to make a difference.
“I thought someone should do something- and then I realised, I am someone”
Director and Chair of Administration Committee; Proud new Queenslander<br />
I was lucky to be born in Australia and to have had the advantages and opportunities afforded through my family life, our society, education and health systems. One of our closest neighbours – Timor Leste – was emerging from a recent traumatic past and striving to rebuild their infrastructure and services in the face of significant challenges. One of the big challenges is health services.
I believe that all people should have access to good quality health care and to know that less than an hour’s flight north of Australia people were dying or suffering significant long term disability from preventable or treatable diseases inspired me to join an organisation committed to improving this situation.
MT is not concerned with coming in and providing services but in working together with the people of Timor Leste to empower them to build a strong primary health care system that where services are provided by the Timorese people. With support the Timorese can tackle their greatest health challenges in an effective and sustainable way. I am constantly surprised at how much can be achieved with so little, how resilient people are in the face of great challenges and how inspirational and dedicated the people associated with our organisation are.
I am a lawyer, a mother, a friend, a sister, a daughter, a wife
I joined the Board because I wanted to use my experience to help where it was truly needed.
I stay because I am now committed to the other volunteers who are also giving unstintingly of their skills and experience, and we make a team that can make a difference
Non executive director, great with numbers
Working in the fast-paced professional services world, I find being involved with Maluk Timor as an opportunity to take time-out and to remind myself of how lucky we are in Australia. Timor-Leste is one of our closest neighbours and as Australians we have a strong history with them.
It is very inspiring meeting collectively as the Board, reflecting on the activities that we are undertaking and the journey that the organisation has been one. It is rewarding working with a team that shares the same joint purpose and vision.
Our Team and Volunteers
We asked them “Why Timor and Why Maluk?”
Dr Bethany Nelson (Rural GP)
Director of Medical Training Maluk Timor, mother of four, wife, mentor to many
I am a proud Australian, a WA farm girl, wife, doctor and mother to four. We have been born into a life of blessing, a free and stable country that has a quality healthcare and education system. A land rich in resources. But we, like so many countries have shadows in our past. I believe in sharing what we have, loving our neighbours and the concept of ‘passing it on’. This life philosophy brings me great satisfaction and fulfilment in Timor Leste as our skills, ideas and coaching yield such bountiful results to advance the quality of healthcare together. Our little investment has such a big impact, a national impact.
Maluk Timor brings together the next generation of local leaders who are passionate and committed about investing in the future of their country, and an amazing group of experienced and talented volunteers who have left ego behind to help the cause. They are, quite simply, a refreshing and inspiring group of people to do life with.
Bethany Holt (B.A., MBBS Hons.) - Partnerships Committee
I believe in health equity and am committed to achieving this by serving vulnerable populations and advocating for public and planetary health. For me, Timor-Leste is a good place to start because it is so close to our shores, the absolute need is so great, and vast improvements are within reach.
I discovered Timor-Leste as a medical student volunteer. I joined Maluk Timor because I too am passionate about health system strengthening. I am staying because I have found, in Maluk Timor, a family who shares my values and aspirations for a just and healthier world
Rosie Matthews (MBBS)
Intern at Cairns Hospital
I was first attracted to Timor Leste as I felt a sense of responsibility to learn about it’s rich yet traumatic history, especially given the role Australia has played. As a medical student, eager to learn about developing world medicine, it was hard to look past Timor Leste as I couldn’t believe that the world’s fourth hungriest country was on Australia’s doorstep. It also stunned me to realise that despite Australia’s invention of penicillin 80 years ago, a country only one hour from our shores, was struggling to distribute penicillin to vulnerable children for prevention of life threatening rheumatic heart disease.
I originally connected with Maluk Timor as a final year medical student who had a keen interest in public health. This organisation initially stood out to me for its impressive and effective interventions for health care inequality in Timor Leste. However, the reason I became passionate enough to stay involved was Maluk Timor’s investment in people. Maluk means family, and I felt so welcomed into their incredible family, that it became too hard to leave.