Medical equipment much appreciated in Dili

The ultrasound machine donated to Timor-Leste by Forbes Medical Centre is in constant use in Same Hospital, saving patients a very long trip by rough roads to the capital Dili.

The ultrasound machine donated to Timor-Leste by Forbes Medical Centre is in constant use in Same Hospital, saving patients a very long trip by rough roads to the capital Dili.

Sometimes communities can decide to support a project that can really make a difference to the lives of others.

That's what happened last year when a 40 foot container packed tight with surplus medical equipment from the new Forbes and Parkes Hospitals, and other donated items, was delivered by sea to Dili, capital of Timor-Leste.

This was made possible by the cooperation and generosity of Lachlan Health Service, Forbes and Parkes Shire Councils, Parkes Rotary and Ex-Serviceman's Club, Parkes and Peak Hill Uniting Church and Parkes Assemblies of God congregations, and others.

Potts Removals made sure the container was well packed and Linfox transported the container to Sydney.

Also packed in the container were items donated by Forbes Medical Centre, including a well used ultrasound machine.

Jenny Webb, Forbes Shire Councillor and Manager Forbes Hospital Medical Imaging said: "The ultrasound machine was donated to Forbes Hospital many years ago by a private Sydney practice. When the Hospital got a new ultrasound it went across the road to Forbes Medical Centre, who then donated it to the Timor-Leste project".

A team of volunteers from Parkes, Peak Hill and Sydney unpacked the container in Dili and delivered items by truck on rough roads across the mountain range that divides Timor down the middle, to clinics in three remote small villages, and to the regional hospital in Same,

It was decided the Forbes ultrasound machine would go to Same Hospital, in a town of about 20,000 people with reliable electricity. Same Hospital also had some Cuban trained staff who could train local staff to use the ultrasound machine.

Bill Shallvey, one of the Parkes' volunteers said: "Ultrasound machines are rare in Timor-Leste.  Before this machine was donated to Same Hospital, there was no ultrasound on the southern side of Timor that faces Australia.

"Previously patients took about five hours to travel about 75 kms from Same to Dili to have an ultrasound. Patients from Weberek, one of the remote villages that we took hospital equipment to, would take up to eight hours on terrible roads to travel about 155 kms to Dili.

"Usually women didn't have an ultrasound and gave birth without the opportunity to have their pregnancy checked, something we just take for granted. Often the few midwives or their assistants in remote areas had to deal with unpleasant surprises when a baby was born.

"So the Forbes ultrasound machine is now a rare and precious piece of equipment in Timor-Leste. All the donated equipment was very welcome. We had the pleasure of seeing a new mother using an actual maternity bed. Nebulisers, glucometers, baby scales, bed sheets and even chairs so patients could sit down in clinics, for example, were all appreciated.

Graeme Miller, Forbes Mayor and Lachlan Health Councillor said: "It is fantastic to see the Forbes ultrasound machine being well used in Same Hospital, and to know that the generosity of our Forbes and Parkes communities has made such a difference to the health of people in remote parts of Timor-Leste”.

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