New courses debut in Timor-Leste to support regional engagement initiative

28 Aug 2022

By Beth Price, Erica Bleakley and Gabrielle Lyons

The National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre (NCCTRC) recently hosted two new courses to Timorese healthcare workers from hospitals and health clinics across Dili, Timor-Leste.

The courses were developed under the Regional Engagement Program, which is focused on supporting health professionals in Timor and the Pacific to advance their skills in emergency and critical care, with a particular emphasis on disasters and health emergencies.

The Essentials of Critical Care and Rehabilitation in Disasters and Emergencies (RIDE) courses aim to expand on the existing skills and knowledge of local healthcare workers in the management of critically unwell patients.

Both courses were developed to complement the long-term work already delivered in Timor-Leste, and utilises a collaborative educational approach by identifying local personnel to act as leaders, coordinators and liaison officers in times of crisis, further supporting increased local resilience during times of response.

Delivered by Pacific Critical Care Nurse Education Consultant Beth Price, the Essentials of Critical Care course focussed on nursing assessment, basic life support skills, recognising patient deterioration and managing oxygen therapy, with participants reporting the practical elements of the workshop were most integral.

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The 12 participants, who came from a vast range of nursing experience including emergency and intensive care nurses, reported that the course provided the opportunity to learn together and to clinically apply what they have learnt to their patients. One participant quoted,

 We can help each other in terms of transferring knowledge to our friends and colleagues so at night we can sleep well. For example, if our family come to the emergency department we know they will have people looking after them who have the knowledge they need. We have to learn every day, and update knowledge. I think through this training it encourages learning and improves the safety of our work’.  

A number of occupational therapists took part in the RIDE course delivered by NCCTRC Allied Health and Rehabilitation Coordinator Erica Bleakley. The course aims to introduce the concept of rehabilitation in disasters and emergencies to rehabilitation professionals working across the acute and sub-acute clinical pathway, and to senior leadership staff in decision making roles.

The 17 participants who were nominated by Timorese facilitators, reported the course amplified their knowledge in improving the long term outcomes of people affected by disasters and health emergencies.

There was a professional interpreter present at all times throughout the delivery of both courses to translate between English and Tetun and vice versa.

The NCCTRC has been working in partnership with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to support the delivery of training in health emergencies and preparedness across the Indo-Pacific region since 2010. This ongoing commitment recognises the importance of building local response capacity and capabilities across health and emergency service sectors to effectively respond to mass casualty incidents, disasters and health emergencies.


Beth Price
NCCTRC Pacific Critical Care Nurse Education Consultant

Beth is an ICU nurse and educator with postgraduate qualifications in Critical Care and Health Professional Education.  She currently works as a Nurse Education Consultant within the Regional Engagement Team at the NCCTRC.  Beth has worked in Intensive Care both in the UK and Australia.  She has been a Critical Care Educator since 2012.  Beth has worked with colleagues throughout the Pacific in collaboration with Pacific Communities (SPC) providing remote and face to face assistance particularly throughout the current Pandemic.


Erica Bleakley
NCCTRC Allied Health & Rehabilitation Coordinator

Erica is an Occupational Therapist with post-graduate qualifications in burn and trauma rehabilitation. She is the Allied Health & Rehabilitation Coordinator at the NCCTRC and is responsible for the development and coordination of AUSMAT’s rehabilitation capability. She is also a member of the NCCTRC’s Regional Engagement Program team. Erica has deployed on multiple occasions with AUSMAT in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including to PNG, Fiji, Timor Leste and the Solomon Islands. She regularly provides input for World Health Organisation projects involving rehabilitation in emergencies and worked for Humanity & Inclusion (an international NGO) in Yemen in 2019.

AUSMAT; Australian Medical Assistance Team; NCCTRC; National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre

Gabrielle Lyons
Communications and Digital Engagement Officer

Gabrielle joined the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre in 2021 as Communications and Digital Engagement Officer, supporting media requests, social media coverage and operational requirements for NCCTRC and AUSMAT while on deployment. Gabrielle comes to the NCCTRC with substantial experience as a radio and digital journalist, most recently producing for ABC’s flagship program Radio National Drive with Patricia Karvelas and supporting Afternoon Briefing on ABC News 24, a program dedicated to current affairs and political analysis. Gabrielle specialises in Asia-Pacific politics and human interest feature writing. Beyond Australian borders, Gabrielle has also co-created and hosted an international travel podcast, which was nominated for Best Australian Podcast of 2019. You can follow Gabrielle on Twitter @gj_lyons