It’s been a hectic few weeks for our people in TL. On top of the latest covid lockdown, there has been widespread flooding, which has resulted in multiple deaths and the displacement of over 12000 people. Many of those displaced have been forced into crowded evacuation centres – not ideal in the current health landscape.
The family homes of both Ana Tilman and Nico Pires (dental therapists extraordinaire) were inundated. Ana lost everything. Nico fared a little better – his stuff only got wet. In Australia, we were all very relieved to hear that all our Timorese team, and their families, are otherwise well.
This week, all of the staff in the Maubara Clinic got their first Covid vaccination injection. Hopefully, this begins the the journey to a more settled, less worrying time.
The Covid-19 pandemic continues to make its presence felt throughout the world. In Australia, although we have managed to “flatten the curve”, and we have had many less infections and deaths than many other unfortunate countries, we are not out of the woods yet. Timor remains in a partial lockdown, even though (thankfully) they have had only 24 cases as of last week.
Uncertainty remains the word that defines 2020. We are uncertain about the safety of our Timorese employees, especially with Timorese spitting practices, and we are uncertain about the safety of volunteers in-country. Dentistry is extremely high risk for Covid infection due to the amount of aerosols that are produced while treating patients, and the proximity of the dental team to the patient’s mouth. There is also uncertainty with regards to overseas travel, which is banned for Australians for the foreseeable future.
Hence, it is with great disappointment that the TLDP has decided to cancel the remainder of our trips to TL. We shall have to have a do-over in 2021!
In the meantime, there’s still heaps going on –
- Ana Paula is slogging away in Fiji University. She is in her first year of dentistry and is finding it an extremely challenging task to deal with the new online delivery of coursework.
- We are developing our electronic clinical record. It’s almost finished!
- As PPE is almost non-existent in TL, we are trying to get PPE and dental supplies over to our Maubara team, as well as to the Sisters, who run a primary health clinic in Maubara….with shipping disruption, this is still a work in progress.