About East Timor
East Timor is a small country located in the Eastern part of Timor Island; it is located in Southeast Asia, surrounded by the Indian Ocean to the South and the Pacific Ocean at the North. The country was a former colony of Portugal; it gained independence in November 1975. Nine days after the Parliamentary Republic Government was established, Indonesia invaded and took over the country, with the implied approval of the United States and Australia. It has been one bumpy ride on East Timor's road to independence. Eventually, on 20thMay 2002, East Timor was finally internationally recognised as an independent State, officially under the name of the Democratic Republic of Timor Leste. The capital city of East Timor is Dili and the total land area of East Timor is around 14,609 square km.
East Timor is very close to the Equator and the country has a tropical climate throughout the year. The day temperature is around 30°C to 35°C all year-round in the lowland areas, and falling to the low 20s during the night and the humidity is relatively high. There are two main seasons in East Timor, namely the wet and the dry season which range from November to March and from April to October respectively.
Although East Timor may not be one of the top destinations for everyone to visit, it does offer visitors a wide range of options for things to do. In East Timor, you can find beautiful beaches, exotic forests, exciting mountain trekking, outstanding coral reefs, and impressive colonial towns. You can also find some of the most famous diving sites in the country.
After East Timor gained its independence in 2002, the country immediately started rebuilding their entire infrastructure, including the country’s healthcare system. However, the country encountered a number of obstacles. During the process of fighting for independence, violence had destroyed or seriously damaged a large number of health centers and hospitals in the country. Moreover, the vast majority of the health workers in the old nation were Indonesians, and they left the country as it gained its independence, so there was a lack of medical professionals in the country.
Post independence, East Timor, under the general direction of the Division of Health Services, received a majority of their healthcare from International Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs). The division of health services also works closely with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to develop health policies and arrange services required for the country. The Ministry of Health (MOH) was subsequently formed and it is responsible for the healthcare system of the country. Their mission is to ensure the availability, accessibility and affordability of healthcare services to all the people of East Timor. MOH is also responsible to regulate and promote the health sector.
According to the United Nation's Human Development Index, East Timor is one of the poorest countries in the world; it ranks 120 out of 169 countries. The vast majority of the poor people, about 85% of the population live in the rural areas, and they have little access to a health facility, which poses one of the country’s biggest problems.
Healthcare facilities in East Timor include health posts, community health centres, and hospitals. There is a lack of trained medical professionals in these facilities. In 2003, Cuba and East Timor entered an agreement and hundreds of medical students in East Timor were studying on scholarships in Cuba. The idea was to increase the doctors to patients’ ratio in the healthcare facilities in East Timor. Cuba has also placed hundreds of their country’s doctors to work in East Timor.
The healthcare system of East Timor consists of National Healthcare Service sector as well as the private healthcare sector. These sectors are regulated and monitored by the Government; availability of both public and private sectors within the country offers the patients with a freedom of choice. However, patients seeking private care are required to make out of pocket payments for all medical treatments and services rendered. This implies that only a small group of people in the country can afford to utilise the services offered by the private healthcare sector given the widespread poverty in the country. The total expenditure of East Timor on health is around 13.6% of the country’s GDP.
In general, healthcare services in East Timor are extremely limited and there are very little dental and optical services available. The infrastructure of the healthcare system in East Timor is far from meeting the standard of western countries. Poor and unequal access to health services are one of the problems affecting the performance of the healthcare system in the country. Although you can find hospitals and health centres in the urban areas, however, they are not equipped to deal with complex medical surgeries or emergencies. Medical evacuation is often the only choice in the case of serious illness or complex surgery and these services are costly.
It is therefore strongly recommended that International visitors or expats to take out comprehensive travel insurance before making your trip to East Timor or an expat medical insurance plan should you decide to stay in the country for a longer period. This will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation in the event of a serious illness or accident.
We offer a wide range of policies to meet your individual needs, including benefits such as dental, maternity, inpatient, outpatient, specialist consultations, and many others. We offer a large variety of healthcare plans. Contact our professional advisers today to enjoy full insurance protection for yourself and your family.