Women's Health & Social Care: Strong women for a strong nation

Timorese women face many challenges in accessing health and social services, particularly in areas outside of the capital, Dili. Even within Dili the social norms often hinder women seeking the help that they need.

There is no single problem that lies beneath these realities, but rather a combination of factors that can be tackled through eduction and cultural change.

 

The challenges facing women in Timor-Leste

Women’s challenges are across all aspects of their lives : maternal and child health, gender inequality, lack of access to finances and transport, reliance on traditional beliefs and health practices, and of special concern is the level of gender-based violence.

6-10 women in relationships have experienced violence in the home

%

of abused women reported severe violence

%

of abused womend said their children had been present

Shame and stigma remain a huge barrier to solving the domestic violence problem with a traumatised nation which has grown acustomed to violence. Many women even see domestic violence as normal or not a serious problem.

How Maluk Timor is helping to empower women

1. Working with our partners

 

2. Empowering change with women’s “health clubs”

 

There are currently six women’s health clubs operational in the target area. Women get together over refreshments and share in small group discussions.

The women sit in small groups and select a topic from the topic “Menu”. Facilitators lead discussions on the relevant topics as well as ‘the Special of the Day’ which includes a guest who specialises in the selected topic.

The health clubs meet on monthly in each suco(district) with family planning, antenatal and postnatal care, safe delivery, childhood illnesses and sanitation, immunisations, nutrition, TB, HIV/AIDS, and gender-based violence all on the menu.

 

Women discussing post-natal care in a “Coffee Club”

3. Women’s Crisis Care Team

Maluk Timor provides a crisis care team of social care workers working out of community health centres.

Our crisis team helps women in who are facing critical issues like sexual assault, gender-based violence, unplanned pregnancy, homelessness, mental health and drug / alcohol misuse. 

The Maluk case worker will assess the client’s situation and needs in a safe encironment and give her options for refereeal to  appropriate allied health services. 

3. Family Health Promoters (PSF’s)

Family health promoters are volunteers chosen by the community as a source of medical and health knowledge. Maluk Timor then provides a training program as well the provision of essential equipment and supplies, as well as a small amount of money to cover the cost of phonecalls.

PSFs attend twice yearly training workshops their transport to Dili, their accommodation and meals covered during the training.

One of these training refreshers will be provided by the Australian Catholic Universities (ACU) team, focus on essentials of pregnancy, delivery and post-partum care.

The other annual workshop will be a three-day refresher on general health topics such nutrition, tuberculosis, hygiene and skin health.

Latest news from our women’s health & social care program

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