While the pandemic affected countless individuals, it hit the Native American community particularly hard. The barriers to public health connectivity in tribal communities are wide-ranging, including little to no connectivity and vast remote areas with underserved communities.
Although these challenges make getting accurate information to tribal members difficult, there are solutions that can break down these barriers, and lead to better community outcomes. For example, by marrying multiple technologies, tribal communities can connect to promote vaccine distribution and testing, enable public safety for members, and help to bring the community together.
These were the key themes in the second part of our Critical Communications in Tribal Communities podcast, hosted on Government Technology Insider, where Walter Murillo, CEO at Native Health; and Jeff Schweitzer, 5G Innovation Architect at Verizon, discussed this topic further.
“One of the first barriers to look at is to see if service is even available, which is harder in rural areas, but less of an issue in urban areas,” said Murillo. “Once we can establish service, the barrier becomes access to the equipment. The advent of the pandemic has allowed for telephonic visits to become more predominant, an outstanding contribution, since now individuals can have access to care. This takes away the transportation barrier, an ongoing issue for these communities. But even without that barrier, we have to ensure people have access to that equipment, so that became our challenge.”
Listen to the full podcast below:
Click here to listen to Part 1 and Part 3 of our Critical Communications in Tribal Communities series.