By the time Fredah Dumu, turned six-years-old, her parents noticed that her development was a bit slower than other children.
Fredah had difficulty playing long hours with other children. It wasn’t until she turned 13, that her parents that she had serious difficulty breathing when travelling short distances to school.
“She was always late to school. She was experiencing shortness of breath,” says her mother, Doreen.
Doctors later found that Fredah was suffering from a rare congenital heart condition. The family travelled to Port Moresby for further tests. Doctors in Port Moresby told Penuel and Doreen that their daughter needed a heart operation to correct the heart defect she had from birth.
The family was told the operation had to be done overseas, preferably in Australia; and that it would cost at least K200,000.
For the last six months, the family have been living in Port Moresby trying to raise funds for the operation. Doreen, a nurse, quit her job so she could take care of her daughter. The travel and the medical costs are eating into their meager cash reserves.
“We raised K10,000. That is as much as we could raise over the last six months. We got some help of K30,000 from the Sohe MP. But that money is fast running out because of living costs, hospital reviews and travel.”
Fredah is now 15. She has not been able to attend a full year of school. For her parents who don’t have full-time employment, raising K200,000 for the operation is a difficult task.