The journey of a child sponsored by COMMSSA-SACIM

Since 1991, through fundraising efforts COMMSSA-SACIM  has sponsored and provided support to an average of three children per year.

Children from disadvantaged backgrounds are referred to SACIM in Mauritius where a selection panel decides which cases are appropriate for treatment overseas. SACIM in Mauritius, contact the COMMSSA-SACIM Medical Director who in turn assesses and investigates the feasibility of treatment in Perth.

Once a child has been accepted by COMMSA-SACIM the child is sent to Perth where he or she, either alone or with a parent, is met by a host family. In Perth the child stays with one or more families who, with the help of other volunteers, support them through preoperative, in-hospital and postoperative care.

Many young children in Mauritius only speak créole. The child and the accompanying parent, if present, are ideally cared for in an environment where they can speak their own language. The presence of a créole speaking person also facilitates interactions with specialists and hospital staff.

The cases referred to COMMSSA-SACIM vary enormously in nature, cost and complexity. The child could be in Perth requiring care for as little as one month or as long as a year. COMMSA-SACIM sees its role as being as much pastoral and social as it is financial.

Financial, Medical and Surgical Support

When a child is sent to Perth SACIM usually arranges for the airfare to be paid by the Mauritian Government. COMMSSA-SACIM is responsible for raising the funds to cover the medical and surgical expenses in Perth. In some cases the specialists, hospitals, radiology and pathology providers discount their services substantially however the total costs are invariably high. On average each child sent to Perth costs around $10,000. A couple of years ago, one young teenager’s orthopaedic surgery cost our association just under $30,000.

Children have been treated at Princess Margaret Hospital and St John of God Hospital in Subiaco for a large variety of conditions: cardiac malformations, imperforate anus, oesophageal stricture, congenital hip dislocation, brain tumour, eye tumour, severe glaucoma and cataracts. Sadly COMMSSA-SACIM has been unable to accept a number of children due to the cost of their medical care exceeding funds available.