A FAMILY from Babuguna village in Kikori, Gulf Province, thanked Santos for a medical evacuation that may have saved their nine-year-old son.
Independent couple Hibi and Cathy Hawa have four children, including Jonah.
Just like other kids his age, Jonah is fun and energetic. He loves nothing more than playing with his friends and swimming in the river.
Jonah was enrolled at the local elementary school and was always early for classes until one morning in March when everything changed.
“We heard him screaming for our help because he couldn’t move his leg,” recalls his father, Hibi.
“I thought he was joking when he told us he couldn’t get up.”
Jonah was immediately rushed to Kikori Hospital and, much to the chagrin of his family, his health rapidly deteriorated.
“We were then told by the hospital that Jonah had a rare condition known as Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS),” Hibi said.
GBS severely affects upper and lower extremity muscles, including breathing capacity.
“It was a painful experience watching our son fight to live another day,” mum Cathy said.
The family remained in hospital until they were told a medical evacuation had been arranged for them to seek further medical attention for Jonah in Port Moresby.
“We then found out later that it was Santos who had come to our rescue. Not only did they organize the medical evacuation, but they also provided continuous support for our son when we were in the hospital.
The company also gave Jonah a wheelchair after he was released from the intensive care unit.
Ms Hawa said Santos made life easier for them as they themselves could not give him the medical treatment he needed.
“All accommodation and flight costs were covered during our stay in Port Moresby. Not everyone gets the kind of support Jonah did, and we feel blessed.
The family also expressed their gratitude to the health workers at Kikori Hospital, Port Moresby General Hospital and family members for the care and support they received. Jonah celebrated his 9th birthday while in hospital and the family are delighted that he is in good spirits and ready to go home to Kikori.
“There will be some changes to our home to give Jonah easy access, but we believe he will recover well,” dad Hibi said.
For little Jonas, his education is far from over.
“I have a wheelchair to go to school. All I have to do is regain the ability to hold a pencil and write.
GBS is an immune system disorder in which nerves are attacked by immune cells which cause weakness and a tingling sensation in the arms and legs.