On March 10, there was a ceremony held in Kona for the blessing of a new mobile medical van, Kaa Hoola (Hawaiian for vehicle of revitalization and well-being), that will benefit rural communities in Hawaii County that are currently without any medical services. The event was the culmination of 10 years of effort by Rep. Bob Herkes, the legislature, Kona Community Hospital and HMSA.
The van will be owned and operated by the Kona Community Hospital and funded by HMSA for the first two years. The 32 1/2 foot van has an exam room, indoor and outdoor reception areas, a lab, and refrigerated storage areas.
The initial use for the van will be to provide screening, testing, preventative education, physical examinations, and vaccinations for school children in Ka'u, beginning at Pahala Elementary. The project will eventually offer these services to all members of the communities.
The launching of Kaa Hoola is a testament to what years of sustained efforts by a coalition of dedicated individuals can accomplish. The people of South Kona finally have access to medical services.