Health Minister Sergio da Costa Lobo said residents from 219 villages have never received any form of health assistance since Timor-Leste’s independence as no health staff had ever worked in those villages.

He said the ministry was recruiting more health staff to those villages to rectify this.

Minister Lobo said he hoped some of the medical students due to graduate in May would work in these villages.

Remote area resident Mateus Pinto said he and his neighbours had to walk seven kilometers to the nearest health post to access health care.

With no car to make the long trip, many women must give birth in their homes with the help of midwives.

Pinto said residents relied on traditional medicines as they could not access conventional medicines.

MP Eladio Faculto urged the Ministry of Health to find an alternative to cover the villages without health facilities.

He suggested a mobile clinic to provide health care to remote areas.

Some health posts have been established in some villages but still face problems such as a lack of transportation, medicine and medical equipment.