Baby Azariah Malala Semikueva Su’a is desperate need of help.
The five-month-old son of Reverend Semikueva and Florence Su’a from Vaovai Falealili, Faletagaloa Safune and Saleimoa suffers from hepatomegaly (enlarged livers).
His parents have been informed that the only option for him is to have a liver transplant.
However, Azariah’s parents have been told that the estimated cost to have a liver transplant is NZ$300,000 (T$510,000).
For this reason Mr. and Mrs. Su’a have turned to the Samoa Observer Newspaper to reach out to anyone who can help their baby.
“Our son was born on the 18 of February 2016,” said Mr. Su’a.
“Three weeks after he was born, we saw that he had jaundiced resulting in him having yellowish skin and eyes.
“So we took him to the hospital. But we were told that it was just normal for newborns to have that, and that it will fade away once he grows up.
“But after two months, Azariah’s skin was still yellowish.”
So they took him to the hospital again.
However, they were told not to worry and that the condition was “normal.”
“But in December, we thought we would go and take Azariah again as we were prepared to go to New Zealand to spend the holiday there.
“However, we got the same reply again. They told us that it was normal and that I had nothing to worry about.
“So we prepared for our trip to New Zealand happily.”
Conversely, what appears to be a nightmare for the couple and their families started when they were in New Zealand.
“We went to Auckland first before going down to our families in Christchurch,” said Mr. Su’a.
“When we got to Christchurch, we saw that he had caught the flu. So we took him to the nearby hospital for a checkup.
“However, they transferred us to the public hospital in Christchurch because he was having hard time breathing.
“When we went there, baby was admitted and we stayed there for four nights.”
Baby Azariah had a liver biopsy there.
“The doctors informed us that Azariah’s livers were enlarged and that it has failed. So the only choice for us is to have a liver transplant.”
Said Mr. Su’a the news really surprised them and they were devastated. They didn’t know what to do.
They were in a foreign country and they needed to do something as their son’s life is at risk.
What made it worse was when they saw that their bill went up to $NZD$10,000.
“We didn’t know what to do. We wanted to stay in New Zealand and have my son treated, but there was no support for us and my son was not a citizen.
“The doctors and the hospital made contacts with the hospital and the health service here in Samoa and the respond that we got was that, there is no policy in the National Health service to provide assistance for anyone to have a liver transplant.
“So we had no choice but come to Samoa.
“We knew it was hopeless coming here to Samoa as we can’t have it treated here, but we also knew it was hopeless staying in New Zealand because we didn’t have anything to support us.”
So they returned to Samoa in the beginning of the year, and they have been seeking help to assist their child.
“We already went to the Minister of Health, and we also talked to Leituala Dr. Ben Matalavea. And we are still waiting for a respond from the government whether they approve or not.
“But they told us that the estimate costs of the whole process and liver transplant is NZD$300,000 or more.
“That is a lot of money.
“We have been informed that this is the first time for such case to happen in Samoa so it is very costly.
On top of that, the couple is still trying to paying off their NZD$10,000 bill from the hospital.
“We have also contacted the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa for help, but they also have never had a case like this before, where they sponsor someone to have a liver transplant.”
However, although it seems like there is no hope for Baby Azariah, his father is still holding on to his faith.
“I am praying and hoping for the best,” he said.
“We are hoping to get a positive answer from the government. If not, then we will wait for a miracle from God.”
Baby Azariah’s parents are seeking help from anyone who knows what can be done to help Azariah. They would also appreciate anyone who is willing to lend a hand in helping their baby.
Semikueva and Florence Su’a can be contacted through- +6857586757 and +6857659827.