Dr Nelson Martins

Senior Technical Advisor


Postdoctoral Fellowship-Training, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, 2007; Postdoctoral Fellowship-Training Menzies School of Health Research, Charles Darwin University, 2007; PhD, Menzies School of Health Research, Charles Darwin University, 2007; Master in Health Management, University of Newcastle, 2002; Graduate Certificate Population Health University of Newcastle, Australia, 2002; Medical Doctor (Dokter Umum), University of Padjadjaran, Indonesia, 1998; Bachelor of Medicine, University of Padjadjaran, 1995



Dr Nelson is a Senior Technical Advisor at Menzies. He was the Timor-Leste Minister of Health from June 2007 to August 2012. At the same time, he also held the position as a president of Timor-Leste’s National Commission for HIV/AIDS.

Policy and decision making 
Dr Nelson is the creator of SISCa (Integrated Community Health Services) and author of the book, Re-vitalization of Primary Health Care System in Timor-Leste through SISCa. He is also the leading actor in the development of Ministry of Health Cabinet of Health Research and Development (CHRD), and leading policy maker and actor in the process development and writing up the 20 year National Health Strategic Plan (NHSP 2011-2030).

Post conflict experiences and assignments 
He was one of the young Timorese doctors who rendered medical service during the conflict, emergency and transitional phases of East Timor’s government. He was the founding director of the National Tuberculosis Program (NTP), and former member of the Interim Health Authority during the United National Transition Government for East Timor (UNTAET).

Research and publications
Dr Nelson was the first Timorese medical doctor to graduate with a PhD from an internationally recognized Australian university, and has attended and presented many papers in various national and international conferences, seminars and workshops. He was engaged in planning, organising and conducting various health research projects including the “First Randomized Control Trial on Food Incentives to improve Tuberculosis Treatment Compliance (FITTCET) in Dili, Timor-Leste. The article has been widely publicised and earned a publication at the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in 2009.

To date, he has written 119 manuscripts including 40 peer review journal and online articles, 2 books, 41 abstracts for national and international conferences, 11 policy documents, and 25 reports. He has been invited to attend and speak (including as a plenary speaker) at 90 high level conferences, seminars, and workshops in various countries, including Australia, USA, Germany, Portugal, France, Switzerland, UK, South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, China, Singapore, Nepal, Philippines, Ethiopia, South-Sudan, Kenya, DR Congo, Togo, Sierra-Leone, Finland, and Timor-Leste. He has acted as principal investigator for 21 health research projects, as principal supervisors for 14 MPH, and field supervisors for 2 PhD students' research projects and thesis writing.

Research Themes
  • Global and Tropical Health
  • Tuberculosis
  • Health System and Policy
  • Primary Health Care
  1. Joshua R Francis , Rui Maria de Araujo, Odete da Silva Viegas,Sergio Lobo, Danina Coelho, Arvind Mathur, Vinay Bothra, Dongbao Yu, Anthony D K Draper, Jennifer Yan, Martins N.    The response to COVID-19 in Timor-.Leste: lessons learnt. BMJ-OPEN ,/09/2023 DOI: 10.1136/bmjgh-2023-013573
  2. Martins N, Caetano Gusmao, Dirce Soares, Meri Laot, Salvador Amaral, Julia Messner , Jennifer Yan, Joshua Reginald Francis. Strengthening Health Research and Ethics Systems in Timor Leste AQ2 Policy and Practice. 2023 WHO South-East Asia J Public Health | 29/09/2023
  3. Martins N, Caetano Gusmao, Jorge Martins, Odete Viegas : Timor-Leste: a primary health care case study in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. 15/08/2023. WHO-Primasys website. Retrived from : https://ahpsr.who.int/publications/i/item/timor-leste-a-primary-health-care-case-study-in-the-context-of-the-covid-19-pandemic
  4. Martins, N. & Trevena, L.J. (2014). Implementing what works. The experience of primary health care revitalisation. A developing country example from Timor-Leste". Journal of Asia Pacific Family Medicine, 13(5). http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1447-056X-13-5.pdf
  5. Martins, N.& Hawkins, Z. (2012). Striving For Better Health Through Health Research In Post-Conflict Timor-Leste. Health Research Policy and Systems, 10(13). doi:10.1186/1478-4505-10-13. 
  6. Martins, N, Varkey, S., Yuwono, S., Freitas, C., Cunha, M., Costa, J, Docarmo, A. (2012). Responding to Measles Outbreak: Closing the Immunity Gap in children of Timor-Leste. WHO South-East Asia Journal of Public Health, 1(1).
  7. Martins, N., Morris, P., Kelly, P.M. (2009). Food incentives to improve completion of tuberculosis treatment: randomised controlled trial in Dili, Timor-Leste. BMJ, 339: b4248. doi: 10.1136/bmj.b4248
  8. Martins, N., Grace, J., Kelly, P.M. (2008). An ethnographic study of barriers to and enabling factors for tuberculosis treatment adherence in Timor Leste. International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease,12(5): 532-7. PMID: 18419889.
  9. Martins, N., Heldal, E., Sarmento, J., Araujo, R.M., Rolandsen, E.B., Kelly, P.M. (2006). The development of DOTS programs in conflict-affected East Timor, 1996-2004. International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, 10(9): 975-981.
  10. Martins, N., Kelly, P.M., Grace, J., Zwi, A. (2006). Reconstructing tuberculosis services after major conflict: experiences and lessons learned in East Timor. PLOS Medicine, 3(10): e383. DOI: 10.1371/journal: pmed.0030383.