By Christian Malik
Our lead officer in Thailand, Christian Malik, has been visiting several families severely in need of food, rent, and most importantly, medical assistance. Medical costs are too high in Thailand where asylum seekers are categorised as foreigners and are charged highly for medical treatment. Minor medical issues are ignored, which in turn grow into more serious conditions. Consequently and tragically many asylum seekers have died because of this negligence. Many cannot afford their medical expenses and rely on organisations such as BPC to help them pay.
BPC helped to pay medical expenses for Salmoon Barkat who was infected with a skin disease during his 52 day stay in the Immigration Detention Centre. The skin infection started on his hands and feet and then rapidly spread to other parts of his body, eventually affecting his genitals. It required immediate medical intervention and we assisted him in getting the treatment he so badly needed. Now he is slowly recovering and is thankful to BPC for helping him.
Blisters and torn skin were a result of the skin infection. Salmoon had been infected by people staying in IDC.
The total expenditure for Salmoon’s treatment was £90 and this was met by BPC. There are many more people who also need urgent medical treatment. One such man is Kamran who is an asylum seeker who lives with his family on the outskirts of Bangkok. Kamran was diagnosed with cancer of the feet last year. It started as a small cyst which then spread to both feet. BPC Chairman Wilson Chowdhry visited him when he came to Thailand and had appealed for donations to pay for his treatment, which will cost about £2,000 for surgery and radiation. The tumour subsequently spread rapidly and he required urgent surgery. The amount needed was raised by the asylum seeker community who contributed as much as they could, but it was not enough to cover all of his treatment. They raised enough for him to have surgery on one foot but the other is now also in need of urgent attention.
Painful scar where the tumour was removed from one foot
Kamran’s foot was operated on to remove the tumour as he could not wait any longer due to the disease rapidly spreading to his leg. If he did not have it removed then he was at serious risk of amputation. He cannot walk for 2 months and he has to use crutches to go to the bathroom. He lives with his wife and their one year old son, who was born in Thailand. We now strongly appeal to the international community and our supporters for help with the cost of Kamran’s further treament on his other foot, and to help him avoid the horror and pain of amputation.
Christian also visited another family in Bangkok. The man, Shafqat Nasir has been ill since December and hasn’t had a diagnosis because they cannot afford the medical tests. The doctors have prescribed various medical tests including an endoscopy which would cost around £250. Shafqat is also suffering from Haemorrhoids and has several cysts all over his body.
Shafqat’s wife is worried about his deteriorating health and is anxious to get his tests.
The cyst is visible on Shafqat’s neck. Similar cysts are present all across his body.
Shafqat Nasir’s health has deteriorated since December 2014 and he has not been diagnosed with any disease as yet despite the community managing to pay for him to undergo some minor tests. He is living with his wife and sister in law and there is no source of income for this poor family. The endoscopy and other medical tests which he now needs will cost around £250. BPC appeals for your support for this man who is a pharmacist by profession, but is now unable to get up out of bed.
Christian Malik spoke of the horrendous situation. He said:
“While waiting for the arduous asylum procedure, people are constantly getting infected with different diseases in the tropical environment of Thailand. They need urgent medical attention but so far they have been neglected. As some battle for life and death, these people await for a miracle to happen in their lives”.
That all asylum seekers and refugees would receive the medical care that they require
That the families will have enough money for food, clothing and shelter
For asylum applications to be processed and for refugees to be able to resettle to other countries much more quickly.
For the Thai authorities to recognise Pak-Christians as asylum seekers and stop imprisoning and detaining them.
That refugee and asylum families could draw near to the Lord and one another for comfort and would not despair.
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