The Equal Health East Timor dental program enters its fourth year in 2014. While local interest from our partner, Café Cooperative Timor (CCT) remains strong, we are appealing for interested dental personnel to consider a two week commitment to this country in their area of extreme need. Dr Ross Brandon, Chief Medical Adviser to CCT wrote in November 2013 that:

CCT is eager to continue and expand the visiting dental program in 2014. Dental services to Timor Leste's rural communities remain a rarity. We are looking forward to continuing our partnership with Equal Health for the benefit of these Timor Leste rural communities.

One visit last year resulted in the following accomplishment:

The visit was very successful with 359 patients treated and 307 school children screened for dental abnormalities. 710 procedures were performed on the 359 individual patients. Unfortunately only 112 (15.8%) of those procedure were restorative Fuji fillings. CCT is aiming to increase the proportion of restorative treatments to extractions but there remain many patients with severely damaged teeth that need extraction. Joquina, CCT's dental nurse worked next to Dr de Figueiredo with Jacob assuming the dental assistant role. Thus a lot of teaching was achieved during the two week visit.

Our project is based completely on the willingness of Australian dental volunteers being eager to take the step and go to this wonderful country with incredible scenery, fascinating history … and in dental terms, practically no services available to the vast majority of the rural population. We work in the cool mountains where coffee grows, we work with a local team that will be there whether we are or not, we work to mentor − and in some instances receive the mentoring.

It is an adventure and it is an incredibly worthwhile contribution to the country and people of East Timor. It is also a valuable personal journey for all volunteers. East Timor is known as Timor Leste to its citizens. It is not India and the project here is quite different from our India program. It is definitely something to 'put in your diary' for this year, 2014!

Register to volunteer in East Timor with Equal Health.