Planning your elective: East Timor
Mark Wilson gives you some tips on how to arrange an elective in East Timor
After the atrocities with Indonesia, the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (or East Timor or Timor-Lorosae) became fully independent in May 2002. The violence resulted in 60% of doctors fleeing the country and the theft of much medical equipment. For a country that already had horrific health problems, the war made things even worse. The situation is improving though. Obviously, with the formation of a new government, changes are rapid. Up to date information can be found on the government of East Timor's website (www.gov.east-timor.org).
You must discuss the possibility of doing an elective in East Timor with your occupational health department and seek the latest advice from the foreign office. The country is becoming a common destination for Australian students, but details for other students are sketchy. An elective here would, however, be a fascinating experience. In addition to the medicine, local attractions include Atauro Island (an ecotourism destination run