Roger Bowen: Roger Bowen’s news from Maliana

One of Maliana's ambulances, which unfortunately is broken down and 'impossible' to get parts for.
G’day to All,

I hear that it has been very cold in NSW over the past month. Thankfully it has cooled off a bit here in Maliana since the start of the dry season. I no longer need the fan at night and now have to pull the sheet up, so it’s a lot better than the first three or four months when the humidity was full on.

Margaret and I travelled to Dili on the 10th June in the maxibombo to the river Loes walked across the toppling bridge as large vehicles are not allowed to cross it and hopped on another maxibombo to Dili. On arrival in Dili eight hours later, we met up with Anthony Craig and his son Patrick who arrived that same morning from Darwin, and David Natoli Ambulance policy advisor to the T.L. Dept of Health . Anthony very kindly donated both an Adult and a Paediatric resuscitation training mannequin along with an Automatic defibrillator, SpO2 pulse oxymeter, B.P. Cuff, plus nurses watches and various charts etc, to assist in training the staff here in Maliana. Anthony has been involved with Timor Leste for many years through the Mary MacKillop Centre for East Timorese studies at St. Marys, Sydney. Over the past three years he has been making an annual trip to Dili hospital to train the nursing staff. I am very grateful for his efforts in bringing all this expensive and bulky equipment with him. It was fortunate that his son Patrick was there to help carry it.

Anthony told me that his greatest fear was having to pay import duty at the airport when he declared the items, but when questioned by the authorities he very quickly mentioned Mary MacKillop’s nameand something about donations and they waved him through with much knowing nodding of heads. So thank you St. Mary Mac’, Anthony and Patrick for this equipment for Maliana. The training mannequins will be the only medical training equipment that I have seen in the Maliana hospital. The AED pack will be used in the Emergency Dept and taken out on the ambulance when necessary for specific calls such as heart attacks/drowning/electrocutions. Unfortunately the hospital’s is unable to provide intensive care/ thrombolysis etc and advanced resuscitation such as endotracheal intubation, so defibrillation and adrenaline will be the extent of resuscitation efforts.

Tomorrow, the 20th June I commence daily practical training sessions, work load and staff availability permitting, from 0830 to 1030 and again from 2.30pm to 3.30pm for the nursing staff/ambulance drivers and medical students. Dr. Vitorino and senor Bonaventure de Jesus dos Santos,( now that’s a decent name if ever there was one!) director of nursing, have approved the program and are supportive.

Hopefully, depending on the response, I will continue this training schedule until I leave in November. Again, hopefully senor Chris, the person in charge of the ambulance here, will assume responsibility for these in-service staff training sessions over the next couple of months.

The Palms Country Program director, Christine O’Halloran is coming to Maliana next Friday 25th June, in company with Barry Hinton from Atuaro Island the In-country Palms liaison person. They will be having a chat with me about how things are shaping up and will be going on to other places to evaluate the situation for Palms placements of a kindergarten teacher and a librarian/English teacher, in August. They will be visiting all the Timor Leste Palms volunteers over the course of ten days.

Cheers for now, love and fond regards,



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I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again. - Stephen Krebbet