Doctor Daniel Murphy received his MD from the University of Iowa. He spent six years working with Caesar Chavez at a clinic for farm workers where he was involved in initiating legislation against pesticide abuse. Early in his career he worked as a doctor in Mozambique (another former Portuguese colony), Laos and Nicaragua.
Dr Dan started working in Timor-Leste in September 1998 when it was occupied by Indonesian forces. Although after a few months the Indonesian government forced him out, Dr Dan returned in September 1999 and has been committed to providing free, essential healthcare for the poor and underprivileged people of Timor-Leste through the Bairo Pite Clinic, now the Bairo Pite Clinic.
Dr Dan’s first patients were sick women and children and Timorese rebels who’d suffered gunshot and machete wounds at the hands of occupying forces with many having been brutally tortured, the bones of their feet crushed.
Today, the wounds Dr Dan heals are rarely the result of violence and although the medical needs of the Timorese have changed, the need is no less urgent. The need for accessible and effective healthcare continues to rise as Dr Dan and his staff treat hundreds of patients every day.
“I will stay until healthcare in Timor-Leste is equal to the high quality of care in the West, or until it all falls apart and I am no longer effective.” – Dr Dan Murphy
Dr Dan’s day begins at 8:00am and finishes well into the night. Treating widespread diseases including tuberculosis (TB), malaria, dengue fever, pneumonia, diarrhoea, hepatitis, encephalitis, yaws, leprosy and HIV, Dr Dan also delivers preventive medicine to men, women and children and assists in the delivery of up to 100 babies every month.
Having been recognised during Timor-Leste’s Independence Day celebrations by the then President Dr Jose Ramos-Horta, Dr Dan and the Bairo Pite Clinic received the country’s highest honour, the Medalha do Merito de Timor-Leste (Medal of Merit) for services to Timor-Leste. Dr Dan has also received the Distinguished Alumnus Award, University of Iowa School of Medicine and the Sergio de Melo Award, in recognition of his years of service to the people of Timor-Leste.
Dr Dan is Founder and Medical Director of the Bairo Pite Clinic and serves on the board of directors. His vision for the future includes establishing a medical school to train Timor-Leste physicians and to build on the success of Bairo Pite Clinic, continuing to expand services to meet the healthcare needs of the Timorese.