• 19 SEP 19
    • 0
    Tears of relief: How Medevac saved Tajj

    Tears of relief: How Medevac saved Tajj

    The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre’s Detention Advocacy team is a lifeline for sick refugees left behind in offshore detention but in need of urgent medical care. Care that is not adequate or simply not available in PNG and Nauru.

    Our team of 7 are working around the clock (as part of the MERG group) to get applications for urgent medical transfers processed. But we simply don’t have the capacity to help everyone who needs it. 

    That’s why the ASRC is putting on another 4 temporary staff – to ensure everyone who needs help gets it. People likeTajj*, who had been living in offshore detention in Papua New Guinea since 2013 but whose health recently started to rapidly deteriorate. Taj started experiencing blood in his urine and his condition was worsening by the day, but he wasn’t able to get the healthcare he needed in the detention facility. 

    We started working with Tajj to apply for his urgent medical transfer to Australia under the Medevac law.

    We’d been in constant contact with Tajj, arranging for a qualified doctor in Australia to make a medical assessment of his condition via video conference call. 

    But then we lost contact with Tajj.

    For 48 hours we tried calling him. But no answer.

    We were getting very worried. We knew Tajj was isolated. He almost never left his room because he was too weak to move around.

    Through one of our contacts in PNG we found out that Tajj’s phone was broken and couldn’t receive calls. So we arranged for him to get a new phone and we paid for a data sim card to facilitate the video assessments. 

    With a working phone again Tajj was able to receive a medical assessment of his condition and start the application process for medical evacuation to Australia. 


    That’s how the Medevac process works. 

    Phones are a literal lifeline for people in offshore detention. Without them people are isolated from the only people who can do something to change their situation. 

    A working mobile phone is vital to the complex Medevac application process. 

    A working mobile phone can be the difference between suffering from a preventable disease and receiving treatment.

    “I was in the background when our case worker called him and told him he would get the care he was entitled to. There were many tears, not of sadness or joy, but of relief,”

    Michael Hoey, Triage Manager – Medical Evacuation Response Group. 

    $45 can help pay for the ongoing cost of triage staff staying connected over the phone with sick refugees like Tajj.

    Donate NOW because lives are at risk and Medevac can save them.

    Access to medical care is a basic human right and we can’t turn our backs on those who need care the most. Please give generously

    *This story uses de-identified and amalgamated information to protect the identity of people seeking asylum

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