Help East Timor
Support the Foundation’s dermatology connection, Dermatology in Timor Leste (DiTL)
In September 2015, Associate Professor Rosemary Nixon and then dermatology registrar Dr Niyati Sharma travelled to East Timor to pursue a number of potential connections. They travelled with general practitioner Dr Sue English, who had established a charity, the Bayside Friends of the Salesian Missions in East Timor and who had worked previously with the Salesians orphanage in Venilale. Rosemary, Niyati and Sue spent a week at the Baro Pite Clinic in Dili, which had been established over 20 years previously by an American general practitioner, Dr Dan Murphy. Rosemary and Niyati ran several dermatology clinics there and also at the orphanage in Venilale. They also had the opportunity to visit a remote area where there was a severe scabies outbreak but there was a complete lack of treatment together with a co-ordinated approach to the the problem.
Rosemary and Niyati also met with the dermatologists at the National Hospital, including Dr Odete da Viegas and Dr Terlinda Barros. On her return to Australia, Rosemary established this fund and facilitated Terlinda traveling to a regional dermatology meeting, as well as supporting the work of Dr Sue English and the Baro Pite Clinic.
In 2016, dermatologist Dr Julia Rhodes and then NSW dermatology registrar Dr Rebecca Saunderson travelled to Dili. They also spent time at the Baro Pite clinic and in a scabies endemic area. They believed that creating a WhatsApp group would be a more effective way of assisting the locals with the diagnoses of some of the more difficult skin problems. In the meantime, lack of access to reliable and cost-effective histopathology remains an impediment to dermatology services.
In 2017, the Australian supporters of the former Baro Pite Clinic established a new platform, Maluk Timor, with the aim of supporting a number of public health measures in East Timor. They do not have scabies treatment on their direct agenda, so our group, DiTL, has recently formed a loose coalition to advance the cause of scabies eradication. A recent publication from one of the group members, Dr Josh Francis, has highlighted high rates of rheumatic heart disease in East Timor and skin infections, often caused by scabies, are a major contributing cause of this problem.
We will continue to progress the agenda of scabies eradication, and in addition, our group will support dermatologists from Dili travelling to a regional dermatology meeting in Surabaya in August 2018.
We seek your assistance for this ongoing work.