Interior OKs $333,572 for Marshallese in RMI, US

WASHINGTON, D.C.—A total of $333,572 in fiscal year 2018 technical assistance program grants have been approved to bolster the health care program for populations from the four nuclear-affected atolls in the Marshall Islands and to support the Marshallese populations in Arkansas.

Section 177 Four Atoll Health Care Program Supplemental: $180,000 in supplemental funding to cover increased costs of preventive diabetes medication to treat a rising number of patients reported with diabetes being treated from the four atolls of Bikini, Enewetak, Rongelap, and Utrôk. The number of diabetic patients this year has reportedly increased by 86 percent over prior year cases.

The Four Atoll Health Care Program provides health care services and overall wellness programs for over 18,000 people from the four nuclear-affected atolls in the Marshall Islands. The program covers dental services, women’s health and cancer screening, diabetes screening and control, eye services in collaboration with the Canvas Back Eye Mission, immunization coverage, reduction of infant mortality, and surveillance of tuberculosis and leprosy. Interior provided an initial amount of $1.4 million in May 2018 for fiscal year 2018.

Marshallese Education Initiative: $153,572 to support the non-profit organization Marshallese Resource and Educational Center in Springdale, Arkansas. The center will provide full-time, bilingual office staff to provide assistance with translation, notary services, youth mentorship, financial planning and literacy workshops, resume-building, educational opportunities, and raising awareness to prevent domestic violence for Marshall Islanders in Arkansas. Staff will also assist local agencies in Arkansas with interpreter services and cultural training. Springdale is home to an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 Marshallese, one of the largest Marshallese populations residing in the United States.

Doug Domenech, U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary, Insular and International Affairs, said funds for these grants were made available through the Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs’ Technical Assistance Program. Applications are submitted from October through May 1st each year. Once OIA receives appropriations from the U.S. Congress, these funds are awarded until they are exhausted. (PR)

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