Success lends a hand in East Timor

Published on LEUT David Roberts (author), Unknown (photographer)

Location(s): Dili

The crew of HMAS Success with Dr Daniel Murphy (blue shirt), clinic manager Abrao Araujo and Australian volunteer Pharmacist Jessica Donnelly. (photo: Unknown)
The crew of HMAS Success with Dr Daniel Murphy (blue shirt), clinic manager Abrao Araujo and Australian volunteer Pharmacist Jessica Donnelly.

A medical clinic in Dili, Timor-Leste, got a much-needed facelift thanks to the crew of HMAS Success, which deployed to South East Asia last month.

More than 50 members of the Royal Australian Navy battle tanker repaired plumbing, laid pathways, painted walls and cleaned overgrown gardens at the Bairo Pite Clinic.

Medical Director, Dr Daniel Murphy, said the support was critical to the survival of the clinic and the local residents who depended on it.

"Assistance from ships such as Success that are passing through the area is key to the survival of the clinic that saves thousands of lives each year," said Dr Dan, as he is known locally.

"There is no access to adequate health care around here for the locals so this support goes a long way."

Chief Petty Officer Electrical Technician David Rottinger contributed to the repairs. He said helping others was why he joined the Navy and why he continued to serve.

"While in the Navy and attached to a ship I have never turned down an opportunity to help those in need. I have seen things that have made me realise how important life is and that in the midst of tragedy there are people willing to help those around them," Chief Petty Officer Rottinger said.

"The clinic in Timor-Leste and the volunteers there reminded me of how great human nature can be. That continues to drive me to volunteer when given the chance."

Commanding Officer of Success, Commander Michael Letts, said the port visit had left his crew with a sense of achievement and goodwill.

"Although only a short visit to Dili where the ship remained at anchor throughout, the experiences we had will be remembered for a long time," Commander Letts said.

Dr Dan established the Bairo Pite Clinic in 1999, in what he described as one of the poorest countries in the Asia Pacific region.

Run solely through donations and by volunteers, the Bairo Pite Clinic handles about 100 births a month and cares for thousands of people with injuries and diseases that most Australians would have thought long gone, according to Dr Dan.

Details of the clinic, including how to donate or volunteer, can be found at www.bairopiteclinic.org.au