The Medical Reserve Corps in the CNMI is on the lookout for more volunteers as part of efforts to make the organization more capable of responding to different types of emergencies.
Warren Villagomez, director for Public Health and Hospital Emergency Preparedness Program of the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., said that MRC is a network of volunteers aimed at improving health resiliency within communities.
The local MRC is part of the corporation's public health and hospital awareness programs through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Villagomez said the Northern Marianas has a sanctioned MRC registry of about 50 medical and non-medical volunteers, including nurses and other health care providers, retired police officers, government employees, and other community members.
“We're looking for more volunteers to build our capacity in the event that there's a public health or hospital emergency. Our goal is all about patient safety,” he told Saipan Tribune.
According to Villagomez, the MRC is activated during an emergency or disaster anywhere in the Commonwealth, placing volunteers in appropriate response efforts to help affected individuals.
Villagomez noted that among MRC's capabilities is to link up with government agencies such as the CNMI Department of Public Safety and the Department of Homeland Security, private clinics, and non-governmental organizations.
“We pool resources together and we can push resources out if there's an emergency,” he added.
Besides participation in education outreach, MRC is also involved in other health-related activities such as the flu vaccination drive.
For the first time last month, a team of volunteers and staff administered over 60 flu vaccines to Tinian residents at the 9th Annual Tinian Hot Pepper Festival event.
Villagomez said they plan to offer the free flu vaccines to Rota residents during the Agricultural Fair this March.
Although flu season comes and goes, he said the corporation is working on educating the public about flu prevention by practicing good personal hygiene.
To become an MRC volunteer or for more information, call 236-8760 or 234-8950.