Another milestone year for international health at St John of God Social Outreach

St John of God Social Outreach’s international health team has had another year of milestones in building the capacity of the health workforce in Asia, with new partnerships and expansions continuing to transform lives in several nations.

6 Sep 2019

6 November 2019



In 2018/2019, the Nursing Development Program supported 31 nursing and midwifery graduates to enter the Dili National Hospital, and Director International Health Anthea Ramos said the program was critical in ensuring that graduates were work ready and exposed to a broader range of essential nursing skills.

“We work to embed these skills into their daily practice, so graduates have a smaller theory-practice gap and can demonstrate critical thinking and problem-solving skills,” said Anthea.

The Educator Development Program was commenced at the Dili National Hospital to support the team of Nurse/Midwifery Educators to learn the best ways to teach the clinical skills to ensure good patient care.

Also this year, the Health Managers Program was expanded to include, for the first time, 20 participants from Timor-Leste’s municipal hospitals and Ministry of Health staff.

Compliance International Health annual highlights

In 2018/19 we were also pleased to facilitate an overall increase in compliance against the patient safety standard of 34 per cent at the national hospital in Dili.

While there were many factors contributing to this, Anthea said this was largely due to increased attention to medication safety at the hospital, facilitated by our team’s core competency program.

“Other clinical areas of focus included bedside handover - where nurses and midwives communicate the needs and care of each patient at the bedside - allowing patients and their families to participate in their own care,” she said. 


The work of our team in Timor-Leste is proudly supported by ConocoPhillips, who recognise the important capacity-building role we play in the region.

“ConocoPhilips has provided $2.6 million over the past seven years and have been instrumental in the development of several programs during that time,” said Anthea.

She noted these included the Core Competency Program which ensures baseline skills of nurses and midwives, the Health Managers Program which provides managerial development for health leaders, and the Executive Professional Development Program for those in senior positions.

She said the team also received additional funding during the year from the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

“We were fortunate to have received an Australian Aid Friendship Grant, which is being used to implement the first hospital-wide guidelines for safe preparation and administration of medication,” she said.

Specific interventions have included:

  • training the nurse/midwife education team and their respective teams to effectively and safely prepare medications for injection, which is now being rolled out to all nurses and midwives in the Dili National Hospital
  • development of a guideline around the environment where medications are prepared.

Papua New Guinea

Haus Bung, located in Madang, is the first drop-in centre in Papua New Guinea for people experiencing mental health issues and is operated by St John of God Social Outreach’s international health team on behalf of the Brothers of St John of God.

The service celebrated one year of operation in 2018/2019 and has seen daily attendance grow by 230 per cent in that time.

“We are supported by the Modilon General Hospital, which provides psychiatric support and a social worker,” said Anthea.

“Haus Bung continues to grow and develop, and provides an invaluable service to the Madang community. We’re excited to see it develop further in the coming year in close collaboration with those who use the service,” she said.