Couple to help in Timor-Leste


by NZ CATHOLIC staff
AUCKLAND — Auckland Catholic couple Andrew Leong and Mary Seong are preparing to spend the next 12 months volunteering in East Timor.
Palms Australia recruited Andrew Leong, a general practitioner, and his wife Mary Seong, a nurse/midwife, to volunteer with the Blessed Virgin Mary Clinic and Bairo Pite Hospital respectively.
Mr Leong said the Blessed Virgin Mary Clinic is in Timor-Leste’s Ermera district. The district has high infant and maternal mortality rates, and a high percentage of people living in poverty.
“My role will be to work as a clinician to provide healthcare for people at the clinic, and at remote communities which we will visit.
“I will work closely with local staff, many of whom will have had limited educational opportunities, to develop their skills.
“We will also work on providing better health education in the district, so the people are better aware of how to care for their own health and prevent illnesses.”
Mrs Seong said she will work at Bairo Pite Hospital, a 50-60 bed hospital in the capital, Dili, which also runs a busy outpatient service and provides two mobile clinics to visit remote districts.
“I will be working as a nurse/midwife, and will work with local staff to improve the standards of nursing and midwifery practice.
She and Mr Leong had been married for more than 30 years, she said. “This is something we have wanted to do for a very long time, and we felt called to give back.”
The couple’s placements were organised by Palms Australia. They first became involved with Palms through taking part in a Palms Encounter trip to East Timor in 2012.
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