The Australia Timor-Leste Program of Assistance for Secondary Services-Phase II (ATLASS II) is a postgraduate medical education program aimed at increasing the number of skilled doctors in Timor Leste.
The program is delivered at the Hospital Nacional Guido Valadares (HNGV), in partnership with the Ministry of Health, HNGV, Timor-Leste National University and Maluk Timor.
The primary objective of ATLASS II is to support the Government of Timor-Leste to develop a highly skilled national medical workforce, while developing a senior medical faculty that is capable of taking on clinical leadership and teaching roles, as the teaching program is transitioned to national ownership.
The in-country training program equips national doctors with the skills to provide relevant and high-quality care in six specialities. The specific objectives are to:
- develop national doctors’ core clinical skills and capacity to provide quality care in surgery, anaesthesia, obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics, family medicine and internal medicine;
- develop national specialists’ capacity to take on teaching and supervisory roles to contribute to a sustainable, local teaching program; and
- support the national hospital to strengthen its clinical governance and capacity as a teaching hospital.
Some of the key program activities and outputs:
Using a health-systems strengthening approach, the program engages International Specialist Clinicians to provide hospital-based postgraduate medical education and training to Timorese doctors with daily mentoring and support. The ATLASS II clinicians also work with HNGV senior management to strengthen clinical governance, research and audit activities to improve the overall functioning of the hospital. ATLASS II also partners with local training providers including Maluk Timor to deliver community-based training for doctors undertaking postgraduate training in Family Medicine.
Since 2012, ATLASS II has trained:
- 114 junior doctors in the Foundation Year Program;
- 101 Timorese doctors with a Postgraduate Diploma in Surgery, Anaesthesia, Family Medicine, Paediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Internal Medicine;
- 10 Timorese doctors with a Masters of Medicine (Paediatrics); and
- 24 doctors who will complete the Diploma in Family Medicine in 2021.
ATLASS II is the only postgraduate medical education and training provider in Timor-Leste. Delivered in Dili, the training programs enable doctors-in-training to remain within the Timorese health system for the duration of their training, whilst increasing HNGV’s capacity as a teaching hospital through the engagement of national doctors as mentors and teachers of the doctors in training. Training doctors in-country also ensures that what they learn is contextually relevant and appropriate to the unique healthcare challenges of Timor-Leste.
Graduate doctors are posted to health facilities across Timor-Leste, increasing access to quality medical care for rural and remote populations. Some of the top performing candidates are selected by the Ministry of Health for further specialisation abroad.
Since 2001, RACS has worked with the Ministry of Health of Timor-Leste and National Hospital, HNGV to provide essential clinical support and health education in Timor-Leste, with the support of the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Following the successful ATLASS Phase I program, ATLASS Phase II commenced in July 2012 and is due to finish in June 2021.
The Australian Government through the ATLASS Program
In partnership with:
- Timor-Leste Ministry of Health
- Hospital Nacional Guido Valadares
- Universidade Nacional Timor Lorosae
- Maluk Timor