Former Timor-Leste President, Dr Jose Ramos-Horta was in Sydney this week to speak at a special Corporate Breakfast organised by Sydney Rotary Club in support of a Fund to improve the health and welfare of people in his country.
Dr Ramos-Horta was joined on the Speaker Panel by General Peter John Cosgrove, former Chief of the Australian Defence Force and Professor Peter McMinn, Bosch Chair of Infectious Diseases, Sydney University in the presence of The Governor of NSW, Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir.
During 2012-13, the Rotary Club of Sydney will be supporting the University of Sydney’s Isin-Di’ak Fund which has been set up with the overall objective of improving health outcomes in Timor-Leste through the training and education of Timorese health professionals in treating disease.
Professor Peter McMinn said the first major project of the Fund will be to eliminate two parasitic diseases from Timor-Leste - lymphatic filariasis, also known as elephantiasis, and intestinal worms, also known as hookworms.
“Lymphatic filariasis affects up to 20% of the Timorese population and causes extensive swelling of limbs and other parts of the body, is very debilitating, but can be effectively treated. Intestinal worms affect up to 50% of children in Timor-Leste, causing anaemia and malnutrition, and are also treatable.”
A five year program of annual mass dosing with two anti-parasitic drugs should eliminate both diseases from the country. The training provided to health professionals during the five years will also ensure that these infections never recur.
Sydney Rotary Club President, James Allen said the success of the program will make a substantial difference to the well-being and quality of life for many Timorese people. He appealed for private and corporate donations to meet the fundraising goal of $500,000.
For more information, please contact Tony Benner, Communications Director,
The Rotary Club of Sydney, Tel. (02) 9279 1194 or 0407 366 140