The poor state of health of Timor Leste can be attributed to deficiencies in the health system and a lack of basic infrastructure.
Only 33% of the population has access to improved sanitation and 52% to improved water sources. Medical facilities are still inadequate (although they have improved markedly since 1999 when more than 80% of medical facilities were either destroyed or damaged). Many facilities remain without access to water.
Further unequal access to health services and an inadequate referral system are major challenges to improving health. There is also a major shortage of doctors, health workers and technical health professionals.
The World Health Organisation has estimated that in 2004, there was only (approximately) one physician, 18 nurses, four midwives and 20 community health workers per 10,000 people.
Friends of Luro have been working with the Luro Sub District since 2004, employing local community members to facilitate projects.
In May 2009 a Community Development Officer from Luro was brought to Australia on behalf of FoL. The program was designed to expose the Community Leader - Delfim Markes to issues relating to Governance in a regional community context. During the 3 month visit, Delfim was given the opportunity to learn about local governance and agricultural methods.
Industries involved included the
Department of Inland Fisheries (improving the practices of breeding fish stock);
Citrus Industry (grafting and improving the production of citrus growing);
Murrumbidgee Irrigation (water reticulation and improving water practices;
Rice Growers Co-Operative (rice processing, food storage and agricultural value-adding)
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At first glance, Timor-Leste’s 85% primary school enrollment rate would make it appear to be post-conflict education success.
However, a closer look reveals only one out of 10 children have the chance to go to preschool; the first time most children step into a classroom is at the age of six or seven. Upon entering school, chances are the language of instruction is different from the language they speak at home, further complicating the learning process.
For those who stay in school, the outcomes are not promising. Teachers are not adequately trained and face challenging circumstances ranging from poor facilities and materials to overcrowded classes.
More than 7 out of 10 children cannot read a single word in Portuguese or Tetum at the end of first grade. Only 37% of children will continue on to secondary school.
For FOL the need to provide students with an opportunity to extend their education beyond junior school is important in providing long term economic empowerment for the community.
Over the last decade FOL in collaboration with the Luro Sub District has facillitated opportunities with the districts top students, to attend the Don Bosco Agricultural School, Fuiloro in order to further their education.