The Society for Critically Sick Kids

AS MEDICAL CARE ADVANCES, many illnesses that were once considered incurable have now become treatable. This is especially so for a number of serious childhood ailments including major birth defects that may involve the heart, lung and bowels, or even severe complications from many common childhood illnesses, for example diarrhoea and chest infections and traumas.

The availability of intensive care service has helped numerous children survived such life-threatening emergencies. At the Sarawak General Hospital, Kuching, about 85% of the total number of children admitted into Paediatric Intensive Care Unit survived. Each year approximately 10-15% of the survivors would have major organ damage, particularly in the lungs and brain, after initial recovery. They require continuous medical support and rehabilitation, even when at home, because the recovery process could be very slow and lengthy.

The medical support and rehabilitation are essential because it would help the survivors attain the best possible eventual recovery; and these includes appropriate medical devices, adequate nutrition, suitable housing condition, immunization against vaccine- preventable infections, social assistance and moral support. Unfortunately, the care for the children who survives their critical illness is very costly and stressful. It imposes a great financial burden to, or may even be unaffordable by some families; which may compromise the quality of care, and consequently, the health of these sick children. For this reason, many parents often have no alternative but to have their child stay in the hospital for months while awaiting the essential supports including suitable housing conditions to become available. It also results in considerable disruptions to the affected families’ daily routines and functions.

Among many, the family income is the most frequently compromised because one of the parents would have to look after their sick child at the hospital, while the other has to stop work to take care of the other children at home. Unlike many children with specific chronic conditions that could seek help from the existing active voluntary organizations, such as the Sarawak Children’s Cancer Society (SCCS) and The Sarawak Thalassaemia Society, there is no such specific support group for the critically sick children in our community yet. Hence, the idea of S.O.S Kids was born with the aim to improve the care of the critically sick children.

Our Aims & Objectives are:1. To provide moral support and coun- selling if necessary to the families with critically ill children.2. To create public awareness, and disseminate medically sound informa- tion to the families, regarding child- hood disease.3. To provide financial assistance to needy children and their families.4. To support the establishment of a conducive and well-equipped half-way house, hospital environment and medical consumables for critically ill children, where appropriate, for the care, treatment and management of critically ill kids.5. To support research projects in paediatric critical care medicine and enhance the expertise of medical staff and social workers.

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