|Aug 01, 2013 --
Outline Of Need:
Ofu and Sili-Olosega of Manu’a are two remote islands in American Samoa that are connected by a one-lane bridge. The only health center between the two islands is located on Ofu, but there was not an ambulance or other medical vehicle available on either island and many struggled to get to the health center. Most adults live and work on the main island of Tutuila during the week, leaving a large number of children and elderly on Ofu and Sili-Olosega. Few of these people have regular access to transportation, and in an emergency they would rely on the community minister or another neighbor with a car to drive them to the health center.
How Rural Development Helped:
USDA Rural Development provided grants totaling $72,000 through the Community Facilities Grant Program and the Economic Impact Initiative Grant Program. The funds allowed LBJ Medical Center to purchase new dual-purpose first response vehicle for Ofu and Sili-Olosega islands. The vehicle has the capability for EMS rescue response for medical emergencies that require stretchers, as well as non-emergency transportation of patients to and from the health center.
The new first responder vehicle has been a welcomed addition to the services offered by the health center, and all the residents are happy with the service. The people of Manu’a no longer struggle to find transportation to the health center during emergencies or for routine care. In the first month alone, the vehicle assisted over 20 patients.
With this added service, the EMS division of LBJ Medical Center hired and trained three new staff to manage the new office they have set up at the Ofu health center.
The vehicle is smaller than a traditional ambulance, allowing it to navigate the narrow, unpaved roads on the islands and reach the homes, instead of patients having to wait for the vehicle on the main road.
To see the story with accompanying photos, click here.