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DoH awarded FEMA funds for Special Needs registry

A Department of Health project to register the special needs population and those who are homebound, is getting federal funding from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) under the agency’s 2012 Community Resilience Innovation Challenge program.


The DoH project is one of 30 projects across the country that were awarded grant funding for proposals submitted for review and approval. Over 1,900 applications across the country were received for this grant funding; and DoH is getting $35,000 for its “Special Needs Population and Home Bound Patients Registry” project, according to FEMA records.


“We applaud each of these organizations for being a model of excellence in keeping disaster preparedness in the forefront of a geographic area with a very unique set of risks,” said FEMA Region IX Administrator Nancy Ward in a news release.


“It’s a fine example of how each of us can have a voice in making our communities more resilient,” she said.


ASG DoH is one of only four recipients within Region IX, which includes western states and territories. DoH director Motusa Tuileama T. Nua was off island as of yesterday and not available for comments on the award.


“The best resiliency ideas originate from our states and tribal nations,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate in a news release. “The goal of this effort is to further empower communities to collaborate and develop innovative approaches to effectively respond to disasters.”


DoH project summary states that the project’s mission is to effectively and efficiently deploy available public health, human and material resources, to promote physical and mental health, and prevent disease, injury, and disability. 


“They intend to establish a voluntary registry of patients who are homebound or bedridden and will need special equipment and care during disasters. The registry would collect data on the location of home, the illness/handicap, the special equipment/medications needed, the type of care needed, etc. and which health center is the closest,” it says.


DoH says data collected on the registry will enable the community health centers on the main island of Tutuila to determine what to expect in the type of care it will need to provide during disasters in their respective villages. It points out that American Samoa only has one main road and one hospital, and if the road is compromised, their health centers will be used as Alternative Care sites.


“This project will enable them to keep track of the number of special needs and homebound patients on island. It will provide them with the location of their homes in the event that they are not able to travel to the nearest medical facility,” it says.


“It will help direct the response teams to them to provide medical assistance at their homes. The project will prepare the first response teams in what to take with them and what to expect,” said DoH.


FEMA says the Community Resilience Innovation Challenge program focuses on building local community resilience to man-made and natural disasters, with an emphasis on innovation, collaboration with community stakeholders, sustainability, repeatability and measurable benefits to the community.


The funding comes from The Rockefeller Foundation and is administered by the Los Angeles Emergency Preparedness Foundation who acted as a third-party intermediary to encourage local communities to engage in creative activities that enhance disaster resilience.