Caring Van on the Road
Following an introduction to the community of Talihina in April of 2012, the fifth Caring Van began serving communities in Southeastern Oklahoma. Operated in partnership with Choctaw Nation Health Services, the van traveled across seven counties providing immunizations and additional preventive health services.
After many years of providing Caring Van services in rural communities through day trips across the state, the Choctaw Nation van represents a new model whereby a partnering organization can operate the van each day of the week without relying on staffing from Oklahoma City and Tulsa. This arrangement has worked very well to date, with 46 clinics conducted in the fall of 2012 alone.
Lead Choctaw Nation Caring Van nurse Kelly Adams commented, “The Caring Van is an incredible asset to Choctaw Nation Health Services nurses. We have increased the number of schools in which we offer immunizations. Because we work in such a rural area, the schools and parents appreciate the convenience of having this service provided. We like knowing that the risk of a child acquiring a vaccine preventable disease in the community lessens with every immunization administered. The Caring Van is a hit will all of the kids with its colorful and friendly design.”
Serving primarily schools, the success of the van is evident, as more than 1,700 children received immunizations aboard the van between September and December. Other services were provided to an additional 1,750 individuals, including adult immunizations and lice checks for children.
In addition to the services provided in 2012, the van has been on the road quite a bit in 2013, already providing immunizations to 189 children and 28 adults at seven clinics, in addition to 628 lice checks being performed.