Before you get to Timor Leste, if you try to do web searches looking for web sites here, it is a bit of a struggle. Apart from some of the government department sites and a couple revolving around tourism, there is not much else.
I found the Bairo Pite Clinic web site a long time ago and as an information resource, it didn’t seem too bad. But I do know that the information is a bit dated now.
But living here, the Bairo Pite Clinic comes up regularly in conversation. It is actually a medical clinic run by the (locally) infamous Dr. Dan (Murphy). It is a private clinic run by Dr. Dan, who while some may say is a bit on the eccentric side, he sure is on a determined mission to do what he can for the Timorese people.
I actually couldn’t contain myself and had to see for myself. I had met an expat volunteer who works there and had a long-standing invitation to go and have a look around.
I hopped on my bike and headed for the clinic. It was only 10 minutes away but initially, I actually cycled straight past. It wasn’t quite like what I expected. Not helped by the sign falling down and little else giving away the real purpose.
But one couldn’t help noticing the 50 or so Timorese waiting outside for treatment. (The sign at reception says in Tetun “maximum 100 patients in the morning and maximum 70 in the afternoon”. I was told they do more than that. Dr. Dan does most of them himself.) Both the consultation and any required drugs are provided free (as far as I know). To many, Dr. Dan is a god. To some in the traditional medical community, he cuts too many corners. As in all things, both views are probably as correct as the other, depending on which side of the spectrum you are on.
I suppose the real point is “can anyone else treat so many people for the same price”. I will bet “no”.
To be honest, the clinic is pretty rough by western standards but I was impressed with the pathology laboratory (mostly because it had one at all) and the pharmacy seemed pretty well organised.
I know another volunteer at the national hospital so will stick my beak into that one as well. After these 2 medical institutions, there is bugger-all else. Bugger-all except for the quite extensive medical clinics provided by the Cooperativa Cafe Timor – the coffee growing co-operative. But thats for another day.