OSSAA is a not-for-profit non-government organisation based in Adelaide, South Australia and established in 2002. OSSAA provides major surgery for poor people in Timor Leste and Eastern Indonesia who suffer from burns, cleft palates, congenital defects, leprosy, disease, cysts, tumours and trauma. It also provides capacity-building for local doctors and staff.

Our Australian voluntary surgical teams typically consist of a surgeon, anaesthetist, support nursing staff and an interpreter. Specialties include reconstructive surgery, ENT, orthopaedic surgery and general surgery.


We operate on a tiny budget delivering huge outcomes. Less than 13% of our budget is spent on administration. All fundraising is undertaken on a voluntary basis. We estimate the average cost of each major surgical procedure to be little more than $300.

About our work

Our patients live in the poorest regions of their countries, with very limited access to health care, especially surgical services. Most travel long distances for surgery. Between 2002 and 2018 OSSAA undertook 107 surgical team visits, 11,680 consultations and 5170 free operations to improve people’s lives. OSSAA and local medical teams work closely together to enhance skills and develop local medical and health resources. We also help supplement local medical equipment and supplies. Other achievements include establishment of a physiotherapy training program in Timor Leste and a regional patient referral network.

Our services are delivered in cooperation with local hospitals, local and national government health authorities and aid agencies.