THE Shriners Hospital for Children in Honolulu, Hawaii, has been providing medical care to more than 35 children from Fiji over the past six years.
Doctors from the hospital visit Lautoka, Suva and Labasa in March each year to conduct clinics for children under 18.
During these visits, they screen potential candidates and determine if orthopaedic surgery would help in improving their lives.
Those selected are operated on where deformities are corrected and where appropriate, are fitted with prosthetics.
The dates and locations for next year's clinics are March 5-7 for Lautoka, Labasa on March 11 and Suva on March 12-14.
Rob Leacock, who is tasked with searching out children with such deformities in Fiji said 36 children from here had travelled to and had been operated on at the hospital with the help of various organisations and government.
"Since 2006, Wings of the Morning Ministry has co-ordinated the arrangements for 36 children from Fiji to fly to Hawaii for free orthopedic surgeries.
"Shriners Hospital for Children is an orthopedic hospital that uses donations from the Shriners International in America to pay for the surgeries for Pacific Islands children," said Mr Leacock.
"A grant from Vodafone several years ago helped pay the US visa and flight costs for many of these 36 children and the parent or guardian who travels with the child.
"The Fiji Ministry of Health has also assisted in some of the travel costs," he said.
Dr Robert Nemechek from Shriners Hospital for Children says the cost per surgery ranges between $F18,000 and $F125,000 and the success rate has been 90 per cent over the past several years.
Shriners Hospitals for Children is a network of 22 non-profit hospitals across North America.
Children with orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate are eligible for care and receive all services in a family-centered environment, regardless of the patients' ability to pay.
While the overwhelming emphasis of the hospitals is to provide medical care to children regardless of the family's ability to pay, the mission of the hospitals also includes research on the conditions treated and the education of medical professionals, including medical residents and fellows, nurses, physical, recreation, and occupational therapists, speech and language pathology, psychologists, social workers, and child life specialists.
Children accepted for treatment become part of the Shriners Hospital system until their 18th or, sometimes, their 21st birthday, and are eligible for both inpatient and outpatient treatment.