RPP Saving Lives in Timor Leste
Vaccine Rollout in Balibo
Rotary Port Phillip is serving to make a difference in the Balibo region of Timor Leste by funding a COVID19 Vaccination Rollout Project.
Rollout of the vaccine in Timor Leste (TL), while supported by the Australian Government, has been slow with currently less than 20% of the population fully vaccinated. The vast majority of this work has been undertaken in the capital Dili with minimal progress in regional areas.
The adult population in the Balibo region is approximately 20,000 and enquires indicated that there is a high rate of COVID infections in the region reinforcing the need to take urgent action to administer the vaccine rollout.
In conjunction with representatives of Spend it Well, local National Government Organisation, Sabeh ( Saude Ba Ema Hotu - Health For All ) and the Australian Government representative in TL coordinating the Australian Government response, a project running over a two week period, to administer one dose of the vaccine to approximately 5,000 to 6,000 people.
Sabeh have been engaged to conduct this essential work and commenced operations on October 4, involving :-:  
  • Mobilising 30 Sabeh doctors, nurses and health professionals to run a two-week program (all have been fully vaccinated)  
  • The Sabeh personnel have split into two teams.  One team is providing a fixed vaccination clinic model in the main population centre of Balibo village.  The other team is operating a mobile vaccination program to service remote areas (where people are unable to travel to Balibo town or fixed clinics) 
  • Sabeh coordinated with the sub-district health director to organise cold chain temperature storage of the AZ vaccine made available by the Timor-Leste government, having originally been donated by the Australian Government.  
  • Sabeh personnel are being provided with accommodation, food and basic necessities for the two-week program. 
Dr Andre, Head of the Sabeh, reported that the medical treatment SABEH are doing alongside the vaccinations appears to be very important as well. Dr Andre said they’ve seen a lot of people living in pain rather than going to a health centre for treatment.  They’ve also highlighted the need for a school health program, having seen a lot of children suffering from malnutrition, tooth decay and vision problems.  They are connecting those with tooth issues to the dental clinic at the Balibo Community Learning Centre