WASHINGTON – Doug Domenech, U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs, this week provided a $713,359 grant for the Four Atoll Healthcare program in the Marshall Islands, which serves the people of Bikini, Enewetak, Rongelap, and Utrok. The current funding supplements the $721,320 provided in December of 2017 and fulfills the FY 2018 request of $1.4 million.
“We continue to depend on the U.S. Congress to help us meet these important commitments on behalf of the U.S. Government for the people of Bikini, Enewetak, Rongelap, and Utrok” said Assistant Secretary Domenech. “Initially provided for under the first Compact of Free Association, these services are now provided through the Office of Insular Affairs’ discretionary Technical Assistance Program and require Congressional authorization and appropriation every year.”
“Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has a strong commitment to health concerns in the atolls of the Republic of the Marshall Islands,” said OIA Director Nik Pula, “and we are pleased to be able to provide this assistance on behalf of the United States.”
Through the Four Atoll Health Care Program, health care services and overall wellness programs are provided for more than 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 Canvasback Missions, immunization coverage, reduction of infant mortality, and surveillance of tuberculosis and leprosy.
The Four Atoll Health Care Program provides basic health services for people from the four atolls in the Marshall Islands impacted by the nuclear weapons testing program that the U.S. Department of Defense carried out in the Marshall Islands between 1946 and 1958.
The Assistant Secretary, Insular and International Affairs, and the Office of Insular Affairs carry out the Secretary of the Interior’s responsibilities for the U.S. territories of Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Additionally, OIA administers and oversees Federal assistance under the Compacts of Free Association to the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. OIA supports the Secretary's mission of Fulfilling Trust and Insular Responsibilities through balancing efforts and limited resources towards stronger economic and health capacities, and fiscal accountability in the U.S. insular areas.