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Sunday 18 November 2018
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Authority sued for delay in Haleema’s funding

A HIGH Court judge was told yesterday that in mere days, two children were recently granted funding by the Children’s Life Authority (CLA), but yet the authority told a Penal mother she must wait between a week and three months for a reply to her application for money to send her child abroad for a life-saving operation.

The heart-rending plight of fiveyear- old Haleema Mohammed who is afflicted with a blood disorder known as beta thalassaemia, moved many to reach out to her family financially when Newsday last week featured her parents’ call for funds from the CLA, to save their child’s life. But with no definite word from the CLA, attorneys yesterday petitioned a judge of the High Court with a lawsuit to compel the State body to deal with the application with urgency.

Justice Devendra Rampersad, presiding in the San Fernando High Court, after hearing attorney Gerald Ramdeen’s arguments, expressed concern over what he described as a lack of compassion in meeting and treating with the funding of life-threatening illnesses involving children.

Medical doctors say Haleema must have a bone marrow transplant. She requires a blood transfusion every three weeks. The cost of the operation in India is TT$400,000, but Haleema’s mother, Kristal Carmel Mohammed, stated in a lawsuit filed yesterday against the CLA, that if the operation is not done soon, her child will die.

Ramdeen, instructed by attorney Sean Sobers, contended that the funds of the CLA are derived from money voted on by Parliament and it is the taxpayers who fund it. He pointed out in the lawsuit, which was served on the CLA and the Attorney-General, that on July 28, Mohammed had submitted her application for funding to the CLA. She was told that her application would not be entertained between less than a week and three months. The attorney pointed out in the lawsuit, however, that applications on behalf of other children, who are afflicted with the same illness, were determined by the CLA in a matter of a week. “There is no lawful justification for the different treatment that has been afforded to the daughter of the intended claimant (Mohammed,” Ramdeen submitted to the judge.

Ramdeen apologised for the absence of the child’s mother in court yesterday, because she had taken Haleema to the San Fernando General Hospital for yet another blood transfusion.

Attorney for the AG, Nadine Nabbie, responded that the matter of the application for Haleema would be looked into and the court would be informed by midday tomorrow of the result.

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