The sad tale of disabled child Daniela


PETALING JAYA: A mother of five in Serian, Sarawak, is appealing to the Welfare Department and members of the public for financial assistance as she and her husband are no longer able to afford medical fees for their disabled child.

Serian DAP branch chairman Edward Andrew Luwak.
Serian DAP branch chairman Edward Andrew Luwak.

Serian DAP branch chairman Edward Andrew Luwak said Daniela Rovica Nodin, who is the youngest child of Christie Baga and Nodin Ladoi, was born with Hypertrophic pyloric stenosis. She also suffers from Down Syndrome.

Hypertrophic pyloric stenosis is the blockage of the passage out of the stomach due to thickening of the muscle at the junction between the stomach and intestines. Down Syndrome, meanwhile, is a genetic disorder that affects growth, facial features and intellectual abilities.

Daniela is registered as “orang kurang upaya” (OKU) and has been issued an OKU card by the Welfare Department.

After she was born, she was referred to the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) for attention from a specialist. She is now an outpatient but must undergo monthly follow-up checks and medical treatment. Her feeding tube also has to be replaced fortnightly.

A trip to SGH in Kuching includes the cost of meals and transport, which is difficult as there is no direct land transport from the village to the hospital.

In a statement today, Luwak said an appeal to the authorities for an increase in cash assistance was turned down.

“To ease the parents’ burden, the Medical Department arranged for Daniela to be attended to at the Serian Hospital.”

Even so, he added, there were times when Daniela needed to be attended to by a specialist at SGH, and the government cash assistance of RM100 was too little to cover the overall cost.

“On many occasions in 2016, RM70 or RM80 was paid to the account of the recipient, and it still happened this year. It is said that the January 2017 assistance was never given.”

Luwak said the services provided by the Welfare Department and its method of assessing situations needed to be reviewed and improved.

“I appeal to the department to take steps to look into ways to provide better and transparent welfare services to those falling under their care,” he said.

According to him, Daniela’s father Nodin works as a shop assistant in Serian and earns a monthly income of about RM1,000. This is not enough to support the entire family as he is the only breadwinner.

Christie is a full-time housewife and cannot look for outside employment as she must tend to Daniela’s needs.

Luwak said requests had been made for an increase in cash assistance from the Welfare Department, but these were always turned down.

“They were told that as Nodin was still able-bodied, their requests could not be considered.

“They were even told by the Welfare Department that the department could only afford to give monthly cash assistance of RM100.”

Members of the public who would like to contribute to the family can contact 013-849 4960.

*Ivy Chong contributed to this article.