Saipan – It’s been over one month since Soudelor made landfall. Remnants of the super typhoon still linger around Saipan. Transportation to and from relief has been difficult for those living in the outskirts of the island. A silent sigh of relief can be heard, as the Commonwealth Health Center’s medical outreach clinic establishes itself in Tanapag for four hours on Sunday.
“After the typhoon, our focus was on all the shelters. But now that our shelters should be all clear by next week, we are focusing on isolated areas now,” Immunization Manager and Operations Chief Jeremy Sasamoto said.“ There are a lot of sick people out there and we are trying to reach them.
The mobile clinic was initiated immediately after Typhoon Soudelor ravaged the island. It was then that local hospital staff entered isolated communities with bullhorns announcing their location. It was a similar operation Sunday, with 15 hospital staff and several other CNMI medical reserve core volunteers providing basic medical services to residents of Tanapag village.
“They are checking if their shots are updated…they did the vitals and everything. It has been very good. They are very helpful. The process has been very smooth and there’s no waiting…” one Tanapag resident said.
All medicine and services at the clinic are free of charge. One official told PNC that prescriptions for up to a month are fully covered as well. the clinic is expected to make visits to highly populated areas at least once a week within the next month. Two shuttles provided by the Commonwealth Health Center transport patients without vehicles to receive medical aid. OBGYN, family doctor, internal medicine, and pediatric services as well as flu shots are available at the clinic.
The clinic also conducts a limited number of home visits. One healthcare professional explained how vital that service is. “Most of the people who come are able bodied…a lot of them are at home who have no means to travel,” a mobile clinic nurse said.
She urges those in dire need of medical attention to take steps to attain it as soon as possible.
“A lot of people at home don’t have insurance and are afraid to go to the hospital and they end up going at the worse possible time…” she added. NMI Congressman Gergorio Kilili Camacho Sablan paid a visit to the Tanapag clinic location, lauding those participating in the much needed community outreach program.
“I think it is a great thing that they are doing. I’ll see what I can do to help with some of the equipment they may need,” Sablan added.