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SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, June 14) – The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Health Center has received a total of US$5.1 million in grant assistance from various federal agencies for preventive healthcare.

Lynn Tenorio, deputy secretary of the Department of Public Health, said these funds were provided for promoting health education and awareness among the people of the CNMI.

The US$5.1 million was received from 20 federal agencies.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture provided US$1.4 million for a special nutrition supplemental program that safeguards the health of low-income women, infant and children of up to 5 years old who are at nutritional risk.

CHC also received US$810,533 in preparedness and response to bio-terrorism grant, specifically for projects and activities regarding the planning and preparedness in the event of an influenza pandemic.

The other grants awarded to CHC:

• US$705,289, for an immunization program to prevent occurrences of vaccine preventable disease.

• US$477,376, to ensure access to maternal and child health services, promote prenatal and postpartum care and provide preventive primary care services.

• US$336,846, for early detection of tuberculosis. This grant includes education, supplies, clinical X-ray and laboratory support and training for tuberculosis control.

• US$279,058 for HIV prevention, including primary HIV prevention services, testing services, health education and counseling.

• US$112,167, for universal newborn hearing screening;

• US$4,720, HIV care grants;

• US$174,582, family planning

• US$135,000, early hearing detection and intervention;

• US$100,000, early childhood comprehensive system;

• US$152,555, preparedness and response to pandemic flu;

• US$94,644, data system linkage and training;

• US$22,711, HIV/AIDS surveillance.

• US$37,744, preventive health services covering diabetes complications;

• US$1,761, sexual offense prevention awareness program;

• US$72,487, programs to reduce the burden of diabetes;

• US$14,134, sexual violence preventive and education;

• US$119,790, sexually transmitted diseases; and

• US$45,280 for HIV care.

In the light of the current situation of the local economy, Tenorio said there’s a need to intensify their efforts of seeking more federal assistance for health care prevention.

"We need to seek more assistance from the feds especially now that enrollment in the health insurance of government employees has dropped," she told Variety, adding that if prevention will not take place this will result in higher medical costs for the patients.

Majority of the funds have grant period from year 2006 to 2007.

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