SMC’s Medical Outreach Team Helped People of East Timor

Every year SMC’s Medical Outreach Team travels to a country with a poor healthcare system and provides voluntary medical services. This year, the Team went to East Timor from January 30th to February 8th with ChildFund Korea.

Located in the Timor Island between Indonesia and Australia, East Timor was once colonized by Portugal, and after having gained independence, it was forcefully annexed to Indonesia in 1976. After tenacious struggles, East Timor finally became independent in 2002. According to the 2007 public health research of East Timor, 88 infants die per 1,000 people. For those younger than five years old, this figure rises to 136, and maternal mortality is between 420 and 800 per 100,000 people, which clearly suggests that the public health in East Timor is strikingly poor.

The Team consists of ten members who were selected last December. After one month of preparation, they held a starting ceremony on January 30th and left Korea.

Their destination was Los Palos, 248 km east from the capital, Dili. As soon as they arrived, the Team kicked off a variety of programs such as training of local healthcare professional while treating local patients in the community.

They treated 659 villagers between February 2nd and 3rd as well as 660 patients at a hospital in Los Palos on 4th. On 5th, the Team offered training to local healthcare professionals and discussed an East Timor maternal and child health project with the Korean Embassy in East Timor, KOICA, and ChildFund Korea on the next day.

SMC is planning for two more overseas medical outreach in the second half of this year and to visit Korean communities with poor health services every month, starting next March.