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Fijian returns home fighting for life

Sanil Kumar, a 29-year-old plumber and metal-sheet worker has been suffering from kidney failure since last year and as reported in Indian Newslink earlier, the only chance of his survival is through transplant.

He arrived in New Zealand on a work visa but was later diagnosed with kidney failure. He is not entitled to free treatment since he is neither a citizen nor a permanent resident. However, his uncle Ashok Narayan, a New Zealand citizen, had guaranteed that he would meet the cost of daily dialysis and kidney transplant.

Fund Drive

Kidney transplant is estimated to cost $130,000. Mr Narayan established the ‘Sanil Kumar Medical Fund’ last year and has so far raised about $121,000. It is understood that more funds are being credited to the Fund account and that Mr Narayan and others have agreed to make good any shortfall.

The fund-drive also includes lucky draws and prizes.

Sanil is stated to be currently undergoing Hemodialysis three times a week performed at a hospital in Fiji costing about F$1000. In Auckland, he had Peritoneal Dialysis done at home at a much lower cost.

Fiji medical authorities have issued a report on his medical condition, stating that kidney transplant is not performed in that country.

Kidney donors

Member of Parliament and Labour Party Immigration Spokesman Dr Rajen Prasad said that Sanil’s first cousin, a New Zealand citizen, is a potential kidney donor and is currently undergoing tissue matching and other tests to determine her suitability. It is anticipated that these tests will be finished by May. Another cousin is also ready to be a donor if required.

Following the decision of INZ not to extend Sani’s visa, Mr Narayan appealed to Associate Immigration Minister Nikki Kaye to consider his case on humanitarian grounds but she refused to intervene.

Unfortunate decision

Dr Prasad described the decision as unfortunate.

“The Minister has based her decision not to intervene on a Health Ministry report, which stated that patients may receive three months’ free treatment for local patients (recommended) by the Fijian Government during which time they need either to find a live donor and be prepared to pay for their dialysis treatment thereafter (about F$32,000 per year),” he said.

“New Zealand could have shown greater compassion and used Ministerial discretion appropriately to enable this young man from the Pacific to have a normal life. But that is not to be and I find it hard to accept that our country could not demonstrate compassion in this case,” Dr Prasad said.

We asked Saif Shaikh, a Licensed Immigration Advisor and Director of Immigration Advice New Zealand Limited for advice. He writes:

Sanil can request INZ for a Visitor Visa for medical treatment. He can also request special permission for up to six months but must show that he has been accepted medical treatment and that he has the financial means for such treatment. He should submit a completed Intended Medical Treatment (INZ 1009) form and provide written evidence of acceptance for treatment, expected costs of medical treatment, evidence that he will be able to pay for all medical costs, unless the treatment is to be funded under special arrangements.

Citizens of South Pacific countries could be funded through their home Government or through the Official Development Assistance (ODA) administered by Foreign Affairs & Trade Ministry if such treatment is not available in their home country.

Applicants seeking medical treatment for Renal Dialysis must be sponsored by either their Government or ODA.

Sanil may be allowed a support person who could be a medical professional or a member of his family.

Saif Shaikh can be contacted on (09) 2724424; Email: saif@ianzl.co.nz;

Website: www.immigrationadvicenz.com

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