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Faamanu is stranded in Australia with cancer but has no access to health insurance


A person who got here to Australia below the Pacific Labour Scheme has been left with no medical health insurance after being recognized with life-threatening most cancers as a result of he can not work.

Faamanu Faamanatu, a 24-year-old from Samoa, got here to Australia a number of months in the past to work at an abattoir in New South Wales.

He arrived as a employee on the Pacific Labour Scheme, a visa program that enables staff from the Pacific Islands to quickly work in Australia.

His companion Tina Mati, who’s Australian, stated that in the first place coming to Australia was a blessing however quickly he turned unwell.

“He turned very, very unwell,” she informed the ABC’s each day information podcast, The Sign.

After checks by native medical doctors for rooster pox and pneumonia he was airlifted to St Vincent’s Hospital, the place he was recognized with acute myeloid leukemia.

The situation, which might progress quickly, meant he was put straight onto a spherical of chemotherapy.

Falling by means of the cracks

When Mr Faamanatu was rushed into chemotherapy for the primary time, his remedy was being lined by a non-public well being insurer.

Underneath the Pacific Labour Scheme, employers pay a portion of a employee’s wage into medical health insurance on their behalf.

However when Mr Faamanatu stopped incomes a wage, it impacted his medical health insurance cowl — on this case with Bupa.

Mr Faamanatu is within the hospital after being recognized with a type of most cancers.(Provided)

Underneath the scheme he’s a short lived visa holder and so he is additionally not entitled to Medicare.

This left Mr Faamanatu with no medical health insurance for his subsequent spherical of remedy when he returned to hospital in August.

“It got here again actually aggressive, he is nonetheless in hospital for the time being,” stated Ms Mati.

“I have been contacting everyone, like immigration, the labour scheme, they are saying, ‘Yeah, yeah, we’ll look into it’, and no-one is doing something.”

The ABC has tried to contact Mr Faamanatu’s employer for an interview.

Therapy might save Mr Faamanatu’s life

There are potential remedies for Mr Faamanatu in response to Dr Orly Lavee, who has been treating him at St Vincent’s.

“Every other Australian on this state of affairs that presents to our division, would get the chemotherapy acquired, adopted by an allogeneic stem cell transplant,” she stated.

Remarkably, a stem cell donor can be obtainable for Mr Faamanatu. His twin brother Manu is an ideal match; the remedy simply wants funding.

However Dr Lavee stated the price of the transplant has been estimated at $120,000 and it will not be capable to go forward with out the sort of further funding that will come from a well being insurer.

Mr Faamanatu is just too sick to journey residence now

The Pacific Labour Scheme started in 2018 and permits staff from a variety of Pacific Islands nations to work in regional and rural Australia for as much as three years.

The scheme has been nicely acquired within the area, in response to Dr Tess Newton Cain, venture chief for the Griffith Asia Institute’s Pacific Hub.

“The alternatives for individuals to return from the Pacific and work in Australia are typically nicely acquired in sending nations corresponding to Vanuatu and Tonga, that are two of the largest contributors of labour into the Australian economic system.”

Shadow Minister for Worldwide Growth and the Pacific, Pat Conroy, stated the welfare of staff who’re in Australia on the scheme have to be protected and that the Australian Authorities ought to urgently assist Mr Faamanatu.

“Time is of the essence,” he stated.

“How Pacific labourers are handled in Australia impacts Australia’s status within the Pacific and thereby our standing with our Pacific buddies.

“The Authorities should repair this.”

Medical insurance firm Bupa stated it couldn’t touch upon Mr Faamanatu’s case particularly, for privateness causes, however stated in a press release that abroad guests are chargeable for sustaining enough well being cowl whereas in Australia.

“When an worker stops working for an organisation for any motive, they’ve the selection to proceed paying for his or her medical health insurance coverage themselves,” a spokesperson stated.

“Organisations that totally or partially fund their staff medical health insurance cowl are required to tell Bupa when an worker is not with the corporate. As soon as notified, we contact the worker to allow them to know their choices for persevering with on their current cowl or transferring to a brand new coverage.”

Mr Conroy stated employers had been chargeable for guaranteeing well being look after visa holders whereas they had been in Australia and stated questions needed to be requested of the employer on this case.

“There are actual questions on whether or not the employer has fulfilled their obligations,” he stated.

Ms Mati stated she was scared that with out assist, her companion could not survive the sickness.

“I need him to stay,” she stated.

The ABC requested the Division of Overseas Affairs and Commerce for remark however didn’t obtain one earlier than deadline.



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