ACU staff are in Timor-Leste this week preparing for another round of community engagement with the award-winning Barefoot Nurses: Train the Trainer Health (TTT).
Sr Monica Whelan, from the Institute of Community Engagement, Meg Stewart, National Head of School of Science, and Shannon Barnes, Lecturer in Nursing, will meet with locals as they prepare for the next group of students who will visit in June.
The Barefoot Nurses team is helping to fight the high rate of childhood mortality and disease in Timor-Leste by working together with partners, the local community, local organsiations and the Ministry for Health in teaching locals first aid skills, promoting health literacy and basic care by Timorese for Timorese.
“Imagine a life without health care, a local GP, local Medical Centre or availability of basic pharmaceutical benefits. This is how East Timorese village people live every day,” Sr Monica said.
“Our approach is focused on making personal contact with the Timorese people, being sensitive to their needs and culture, patiently educating them in effective ways of improving their own health and cooperating with local health initiatives.
“The main focus of the Barefoot Nurses has and is, to support the basic health needs of the people through capacity building.”
When the program won the Vice-Chancellor Award for Outstanding Community Engagement last year Professor Greg Craven said through their inspirational work the team is witness to the University’s Mission to serve the common good, guided by a fundamental concern for justice, equity and the dignity of all human beings.
The TTT model has considerable potential to be replicated across Timor-Leste, in other developing countries and in communities in Australia. TTT is a reference point and a lighthouse program by the Catholic Alliance for International Development (CAID) in its work in Timor-Leste.