Australian aid boost to help Cuban health aid initiative in Timor-Leste


Dr Dan Murphy of the Bairo Pite clinic in Dili 

Australian contributions may become the latest asset for an already thriving Cuban health aid programme in Timor-Leste and this is likely to start later this year.

The Australian government has announced this year a $9 billion increase to foreign aid spending over the next four years with a significant focus on Timor-Leste.

The announcement comes in conjunction with the first independent review into the effectiveness of Australian foreign aid in 15 years.

The review panel has recommended a four-year strategy, where projects are frequently reviewed, and is currently working with the Australian government to set goals for the increased funding.

The panel drew particular attention to the need for value for money and maximum impact for the resources deployed. Building and making better use of effective international partnerships was also recommended.

The Cuban Medical Programme in Timor-Leste, established in 2003 by the previous Fretilin-led government, has saved an estimated more than 17,000 lives, remaining one of the most successful in the world.

Timor-Leste President Jose-Ramos Horta is a strong supporter of the Cuban aid programme, last month recommending the Cuban aid team for a Nobel Peace prize.

Favourable outcomes

University of Sydney lecturer Dr Tim Anderson has closely followed and studied the Cuban programme and says a tripartite agreement involving the government of Timor-Leste would be an effective use of Australian aid funds and produce favourable outcomes for the Timor-Leste Health Care System.

A linked Cuban/Australian programme was discussed by Australian Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs Richard Marles during his visit to Cuba last week.

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Source: Pacific Scoop Report 
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