Dr. Carvalho Hospital

Dr. Carvalho Hospital

Díli, Díli, Timor

Equipment and Infrastructures

The Dr Carvalho Civil and Military Hospital was planned in 1892 by the District of Timor Public Works Department, the governor at the time being Cipriano Forjaz (1890-1894). The proposal for its construction was made to the Ministry of the Navy and the Overseas Territories by Custódio de Borja, governor of Macau (1890-1894), to whom the governor of Timor was subject, to replace the Dili Military Hospital, erected in the 1870s, the precarious condition of which did not permit it to provide adequate health care to the local population. Located at Lahane, in the suburbs of the capital, known for its healthy climate, the construction of the hospital complex, which also included housing for employees, was begun during the governorship of Celestino da Silva. Funded by local resources, the work took several years and the hospital was finally opened in 1906. Initially named after King Carlos I, it was renamed Dr Carvalho Hospital after the implantation of the Republic, as a tribute to Dr Tomás de Carvalho, who was the first representative of the Province of Macau and Timor in the Chamber of Deputies (Parliament) in Lisbon. Its plan was inspired in the typological model of the mountain sanatoria then in fashion in Europe in the 19th century. It has the structure of a pavilion and stands on a small plateau. It is aligned with the curves of the hillside, its layout corresponding to the main hospital services. It is divided into autonomous modules on different levels for auxiliary functions and hospital support services. The hospital itself has an aligned organisation, with a gallery on each side of the central body in the main façade giving the whole a symmetrical design, the axis being emphasised by a small curved pediment. The Lahane hospital, the only one in Timor until the mid-1930s, when the construction of a new one started at Liquiçá, has been constantly improved with new amenities. A nursing school was opened there in 1920 and a unit for the isolation of tuberculosis patients was built in the following decade. Following the Japanese invasion of Timor in 1942, the occupying forces took over the hospital until they were driven out by allied troops two years later, but the resultant bombardment left the building badly damaged. Restored after the war, several improvements were made. A maternity ward was built adjoining the main building and an operating theatre, a paediatric ward and clinical laboratory were created. This intervention deprived the hospital of its origin outline, as the curved pediment was removed, thus eliminating the symmetry of the building and opening the gallery to the whole length of the building. This deprived the building of its Latinate appearance and the hospital took on the appearance of a colonial building of British origin, in accordance with models being used mainly in India and Australia by that power.

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