Bairo Pite Clinic: Ten Years On, GFC Compounds Basic Healthcare Crisis In East Timor

Bairo Pite Clinic, Dili, The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste is a
partner of the Australian Foundation for Peoples of Asia and the Pacific

MEDIA RELEASE 22 September 2009

Ten Years On, GFC Compounds Basic Healthcare Crisis In East Timor

Instead of celebrating the tenth anniversary of the opening of the
internationally recognised Bairo Pite Clinic in Dili, Timor-Leste (26
September), Dr Dan Murphy (the Clinic founder known to the Timorese as
Dr Dan), will continue to treat 300 patients each day while struggling
to find the money to fund this free, essential healthcare service for
the Timorese, made worse by the Global Financial Crisis (GFC).

Dr Murphy, who recently accepted Timor-Leste’s highest honour from Dr
Jose Ramos-Horta, President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste,
was proud of the Clinic’s achievements but said, While this should be a
celebration, the reality is we are struggling to keep our doors open due
to a lack of funding.

With the support of Australians, the clinic has come a long way in terms
of delivering healthcare services to improve the health of the Timorese
but now, in the wake of the GFC we’ve seen much of the funds we rely on,
diminish, Dr Murphy said.

The Clinic, previously a military clinic used by the Indonesian
government and abandoned when Indonesian forces withdrew from
Timor-Leste, was established in 1999 by Dr Murphy to serve the immediate
needs of a population affected by the violence of the Indonesian
withdrawal. In the ten years since opening its doors, the Clinic has
developed from providing basic emergency treatment for victims of
war-like violence, to providing the only comprehensive free healthcare
service treating around 300 patients per day from in and around Dili.

In the past ten years, the Clinic has conducted an extraordinary one
million occasions of patient care, delivered around 7,000 babies and
through its Mobile Clinic programme, provided access to essential
healthcare for around 4,500 people living in remote regions across 8
districts of Timor- Leste.

In its mission to capacity build, the Clinic has also initiated 30
scholarships abroad in health related fields, facilitated rotations for
350 foreign medical students from 25 nations, and with the support of
Australia, the Clinic has referred 15 successful state-of-the-art
cardiac surgical interventions by leading healthcare facilities of whom
Baby Maria was one.

Today, the Clinic is the most highly visited health service in the
country, employing 50 local staff and 8 local volunteers to deliver free
healthcare services to a large number of Timorese including: maternity
and infant care, child health, vaccinations, TB and malaria treatment,
HIV diagnosis, inpatient and dental services as well as health outreach
and training for local healthcare workers. The clinic also operates a
basic medical laboratory and pharmacy.

There is no doubt that the extraordinary success of Dr Dan’s Bairo Pite
Clinic has had a dramatic impact on saving lives and improving the
health of the Timorese and yet, the day-to-day struggle to fund this
essential service, compounded by the impact of the GFC now threatens to
limit these services in the immediate future.

Margaret Duckett, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Foundation
for the Peoples of Asia and the Pacific Ltd (AFAP) has seen the dramatic
effects of the GFC on many developing nations and services including the
Bairo Pite Clinic in Timor-Leste.

The impact on the Bairo Pite Clinic and indeed all of the communities
with whom we work has been devastating. With the GFC exacerbated by a
fall in the value of the Australian dollar and significant inflation in
some of the countries in which we work, it is a sad reality that today,
our activities in partnership with these communities including
Timor-Leste, have had to be scaled back to our mutual disappointment,
she said.

We hope that Australians will remember that despite some people doing it
very tough here, comparatively speaking, Australians are managing the
GFC well and we are urging them to continue to support this remarkable
healthcare service that would otherwise be unavailable to the Timorese
people, Ms Duckett said.

Dr Murphy also appealed to the Australian community to continue their
support for the Clinic saying,

For our tenth anniversary, our only wish is to continue to provide free
healthcare that sees innumerable daily miracles enjoyed by our dedicated
staff and the long suffering citizens of Timor- Leste.

100% of all donations go directly to support the work of the Bairo Pite
Clinic.

To make a tax deductible donation today, please go to:www.afap.org

For more information and to arrange an interview please contact:
Clare Collins – Insight Communications
P: 02 9319 3844
M: 0414 821 957
E:clare@insightcommunications.net.au

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