When our volunteer PIMA Pediatrics Team on Christmas Island in Kiribati found five-year-old Tieraa Viala suffering from a burn accident and little Namaua Tebau,5, with a club foot, we did not know where to turn.
Corrective surgery on Christmas Island was out of the question, where skilled teams would need to monitor post-operative care.
With the help of our partners at Mending Kids International in Burbank, California, both children have now been accepted for surgery and treatment at Shriners Children’s Hospital in Honolulu, which is 1,250 miles north of Christmas Island and just a three-hour flight away.
Tieraa fell in to her mother’s cooking fire at their home in Tabwakea village when she was just eighteen months old, suffering painful burns on her right hand and wrist and rendering the hand unusable. The local doctor on the island said she suffered for long periods of time without any pain medicine, which was not available on the island at the time. “Fortunately, we did have antibiotics for infection,” Dr. Teraira said.
Little Namau Tebau, also five years old, was born in Ronton village on Christmas Island with a club foot, a debilitating condition not treatable on the island. The appearance is unmistakable: the right foot is turned to the side and it appears that the top of the foot is where the bottom should be.
“These children are so fortunate that the wonderful people at Shriners in Honolulu are there to help,” says Carlton Smith of Pacific Islands Medical Aid, Inc. “Shriners will cover all the costs of medical care, but we need to gather together donations to cover the costs of transportation and housing for the children and their mothers while they are in Honolulu,” he said.
“Please help us make this happen,” he said.