The motivation, impact and challenges of foreign health workers in Timor-Leste
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The health sector in Timor-Leste is overseen by the Ministry of Health (MoH). It is composed of both the government run health system and a plethora of non government players. These range from large NGOs to smaller organisations and individuals, many of whom opportunistically become involved in the reconstruction process. There has been a groundswell of support from overseas countries keen to assist in the rebuilding of the formerly neglected Timor-Leste. Foreign health workers are involved in many levels of health service delivery, policy development and strategic planning. A large foreign workforce remains in Dili at the Dili Hospital, MoH and NGO head offices. Foreign health workers are also found in rural districts, working in a range of settings. This mix of government and NGO health service delivery is complex and not all activities are well documented (key informant Mol•!).This chapter will initially provide a background of the role of foreign health workers in Timor-Leste, then explore their motivations and challenges, and finally briefly discuss the impact of their work. Much of this chapter has been drawn from a qualitative research project completed in Timor-Leste in 2005. This was an exploratory case study using qualitative metltodology that included in-depth inter views with foreign health workers, focus group discussions, and key informant interviews. The chapter contains illustrative quotes from these interviews.
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