Ego Supports Australian Dermatologists Making a Difference

February 15, 2016

Melbourne Dermatologist Associate Professor Rosemary Nixon recently returned from a medical mission in Dili, East Timor where she facilitated special skin clinics for over 80 locals, across three afternoons at the Bairo Pite Clinic, as well as seeing patients at Venalaile and Munassi.

Patients ranging from babies to adults were suffering from a range of skin conditions that without proper advice and treatment could result in long term skin complications.

“The most common skin issues found were scabies, atopic eczema, tinea, melasma and acne and one patient was diagnosed with a squamous cell carcinoma [skin cancer] of the upper lip” explained A/Prof Nixon.

East Timor is located an hour flight from Darwin, north of the Kimberley and is regarded as extremely poor with 37 percent1 of people living below the international poverty line and approximately 42 percent of the adult population illiterate2.

A/Prof Nixon said she became aware of the need for further healthcare support in the area after visiting East Timor on a holidays four years ago. At the time she unsuccessfully attempted to make contact with the hierarchy at the National Hospital and put the idea on hold until early 2015 when she met Dr Dan Murphy in Melbourne. He is an American who has been working in East Timor for over twenty years and virtually running a local private clinic called Bairo Pite Clinic (BPC) single-handedly, he sees around 200 outpatients daily.

Today, the BCP has an Australian CEO, Dr Chris Fenton, and caters with facilities for inpatients, maternity patients, a malnutrition ward and a tuberculosis ward. Volunteer doctors and medical students often visit and provide support.

Joined by Dr Niyati Sharma who has recently completed her dermatology training, A/Prof Nixon said her reason to provide this assistance was because there had been no regular involvement of Australian dermatologists in East Timor previously.

Ego Pharmaceuticals was proudly able to support this mission by donating significant quantities of DermAid hydro-cortisone cream and Resolve Plus 1.0. Melbourne Skin Pathology also kindly donated their services pro-bono.

Continuing her important work, A/Prof Nixon is planning to help up skill the staff and visiting doctors by producing comprehensive information on common skin disorders and appropriate treatments. It is planned that at least two sets of Australian dermatologists and registrars will visit Dili yearly, to keep this connection going. Finally, the team also made contact with the East Timorese dermatologists at the National Hospital and have arranged for them to attend an important regional meeting in Singapore in 2016.

While the impact of one such a visit is by its nature, limited, through establishing contact with the BPC Clinic and the East Timorese dermatologists, educating BPC staff and gaining an appreciation of what assistance would most benefit East Timor in the future, are important first steps in this ongoing relationship.

To support the ongoing work of the Bario Pite Clinic visit www.bpc.org.au

 

 

1“Timor Leste: Human Development Indicators”. International Human Development Indicators. United Nations Development Program. Retrieved 11 June 2012.

2Unicef. At a glance: Timor-Leste [online]. 2016 [cited February 2016]. Available from URL http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/Timorleste_statistics.html

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