Timor Leste: the Privilege of Lending a Hand

In 2015, Dr Malcolm Campbell, a Director of the Timor Children’s Foundation, casually asked “would you like to come to Timor and lend a hand”.  I thought for a moment and said “yes”, and so the adventure of travelling to Dili and Lospalos in the eastern tablelands began.

Dr Mark and Kelly with their team

Most of the population of East Timor (or more correctly, Timor Leste) does not have access to dental care.  The few dentists in Timor Leste are centrally located in Dili, so relatively large towns are completely without emergency dental care with life threatening facial swelling not uncommon even in 3 year olds due to dental infections.

Dr mark working on a patient with his team

We were blessed to be invited to visit the only medical centre in Lospalos which is attached to a protestant church and ‘maned’ by Monica a doctor from Minnesota whose husband is the pastor.   The local district hospital provides antibiotics and analgesia, but is unable to provide dental care.  A team of local ladies and a gentleman assist in providing antenatal care and general medical management but no effective oral care or education.

It is into this setting that we arrive via an eight hour drive from Dili to provide a weeks rather intensive work and being wonderfully accommodated in a convent overseen by the equally wonderful Madre Julia. The singing at the convent would rival any organized choir in the world and after giving the sixty or so girls at the convent a talk concerning oral health they sang a nationalistic song with gusto to honour our team.

Madre Julia put her hand upon my arm as we were leaving this year and said “you will come back, won’t you!”

Dr Mark with Madre Julia


The University of Qld’s article  “Bringing smiles to the jungle”.




Dr Mark and Kelly travel to Timor Leste in June 2019 to work with the families in Los Palos to improve their oral health.


Click Here to learn more about Timor Leste Children’s Fund


Click here or the picture below to Watch a video of the 2019 Dental Trip

Dr Mark in Timor