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The Honolulu Advertiser
Updated at 11:35 a.m., Thursday, April 3, 2008

Free health services in Waianae as National Guard trains

Advertiser Staff

HONOLULU The Hawai'i State Department of Health and Hawai'i Air National Guard launched the state's Medical Innovative Readiness Training program, E Malama Kakou, (To Care for All) this week by offering such services as vision screening, physicals and life-saving classes to individuals and families on the Wai'anae Coast.

Project organizers said the collaborative program provides essential training for National Guard troops while addressing local community health needs.

"We are glad to be part of this innovative partnership with the Hawaii National Guard," said state Health Director Dr. Chiyome L. Fukino. "It's a win-win situation, with our local communities benefiting from free health services, and National Guard Medical Groups maintaining their skills and readiness for humanitarian assistance and disaster response."

The Wai'anae Coast is the first community to be served by the program. Members of the Ohio Air National Guard 179th Medical Group, hosted by the Hawai'i Air National Guard's 154th Medical Group, are conducting a 10-day exercise serving students and the public at various schools in the community and at the Wai'anae Coast Comprehensive Health Center. Guard members will also assist Comprehensive Health Center staff in outreach to homeless individuals and families.

The scope of E Malama Kakou extends for the next five years, with the Hawai'i Air National Guard 154th Medical Group serving as host unit to other National Guard and Reserve Component Medical Groups/Companies to provide clinical support in underserved areas on all islands. The Medical Groups will provide free preventative health assessments, wellness referral to outpatient clinics and community disaster preparedness awareness training.

The project will be expanded to other communities and adapted to address specific community needs.