Many areas have sparse populations which we call rural America. Across Texas rural areas are built around farming and ranching business, railroad stops, or small towns with few resources. Many of these areas have little access to community halls, hospitals or other buildings that would work as a traditional Point of Dispensing (POD) operation. In many cases, there are no large facilities, public schools or churches that are readily available to dispense vaccine or medications. Rural communities generally lack the equipment and ability to adequately develop medical countermeasure dispensing plans which can be quite challenging.
The lack of medical personnel; especially physicians, factors into the ability to manage vaccines, review complex medical situations and to manage multiple medications during a complex public health emergency. The Mo-POD unit has the ability to provide needed resources to multiple rural communities in an efficient and timely manner. The Mo-POD has the ability to go almost anywhere. The Mo-POD carries with it the supplies, equipment and technical staff needed to assist local communities establish medical countermeasure operations for small scale short-duration POD operations. For complex medical conditions Mo-POD is telemedicine capable and connects clients directly to a physician who can discuss medical issues directly with clients. All supplies needed are shipped with the trailer, making it easily deployable with a small number of technical staff who then work with local volunteers in establishing POD services in any remote setting or concentrated population. The Mo-POD also has a small propane cooler useful when deploying vaccine in multi-dose vials or with ready to use dispense syringes. The trailer is equipped to establish drive thru or walk thru POD operations at more than one location simultaneously. This cuts down on the need to have pre-deployed POD kits at multiple locations and reduced the opportunity for equipment loss.
The additional uses for this trailer are limited to the imagination and may include items such as vaccine clinics during shelter operations, medical screening during post disaster community assessments or for public health information campaigns. The concept has been tested and with modest modifications, the equipment and staff can be used and shared on a much larger scale.
The Benefits Include:
- The ability to mobilize quickly with equipment necessary to mount medical countermeasure operations.
- The Mo-POD Can deploy to the most remote areas of Bell County or assist the highly populated areas as well.
- The Mo-POD model relies on technical staff and local volunteers working together.
- Less Staff required to manage assets – preloaded and easy transport
- Provides enough signs to establish Point of Dispensing operations for more than one location.
- Can deploy with volunteers & medication who are pre-trained with the skills to help local leaders.
- The Mo-POD reduces the need to preposition supplies and equipment in fixed locations allowing for quicker and more flexible response capability to remote areas.
Success for this project includes building a trained volunteer base that are willing and able to deploy for operations when needed. As we move forward, we will engage faith-based organizations to adopt the Mobile POD concept to help their neighbors. In concept, this project will be able to provide technical expertise and Point of Dispensing Services to up to six small PODs when fully stocked and functioning. As we train and deploy this unit, we hope to expand the capabilities from simply a mobile point of dispensing unit to engage in mobile volunteer medical clinic operations as well, further reducing health disparities of difficult to reach and vulnerable populations in remote areas across Bell and partnering Counties.
The Mo-POD Project was recognized by NACCHO and ASPR for "Advancing an Innovative Medical Countermeasure Enterprise" and was given the 2019 National Health Security Award in that category during the NACCHO 2019 Conference!