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International Health

Tonga TwinningSt John of God Health Care has a longstanding commitment to working with developing nations in the Asia-Pacific region to improve health outcomes. We work with national governments, local healthcare providers and various other agencies to deliver sustainable, long-term solutions for improved health for the populations of our near neighbours.

Our first formal International Health program began in 1992 when St John of God Hospital Ballarat established their Tonga Twinning Program with Vaiola Hospital in Nuku'alofa the capital of Tonga.

More recently, we have dedicated significant resources to improving healthcare in East Timor – one of the world’s newest nations. The East Timor programs began in 2004 with the establishment a five-year nationwide Pathology Development Program, produced as a result of identifying our ability to build capacity in diagnostic services in East Timor. Having made significant improvements in routine pathology, including more accurate testing for malaria, St John of God Health Care committed to a second five-year phase of the Pathology Development Program in 2011, which will deliver specialised training for pathology scientists across the country.

In June 2010, our commitment to East Timor was increased considerably with the commencement of a five-year Nursing Development Program. Based at the National Hospital in Dili, our nurses are tasked with developing practises and procedures in a variety of disciplines including paediatrics, emergency, intensive care and neonatology.

In addition to the nursing and pathology programs, St John of God Health Care is also working to improve primary healthcare through support of the Bakhita Community Clinic in village of Eraulo in the remote Ermera District.

Our newest addition to the International Health portfolio involves working with the Brothers of St John of God in Wewak, Papua New Guinea. St John of God Pinelodge Clinic is providing professional development to the Brothers in order to build the capacity of Rohanoka Drug and Alcohol Addictions Recovery Centre in Wewak. St John of God Waipuna caregivers are also working with the Brothers to develop community youth programs. A project officer assists the programs in PNG which provide support and counselling as well as community education with schools, youth groups, prisons and health centres.

The Asia-Pacific region

While St John of God Health Care has made significant contributions to improving healthcare in various countries around the world, our International Health programs are focussed on assisting our near neighbours in the Asia-Pacific region. We dedicate our resources to countries in this region because the proximity of those nations means that we can make most difference – deploying our resources in the most effective and efficient ways.

Working with our near neighbours allows us to respond to emerging needs more effectively, which is also in line with AusAIDs’ dedication to focussing Australia’s aid effort within our global region. It is also important to note that two thirds of the world’s (1.4 billion) population deemed to be living in poverty by the UN is located within this region.

St John of God Health Care’s guiding principles state an unconditional commitment to social justice including identification of the needs of people who are poor or marginalised, dedicating substantial resources to such people and advocating on their behalf. Our commitment to improving health outcomes in communities living in poverty amongst our near neighbours is therefore a strong demonstration of our Mission in action.