Local health district wins national award for mobile unit

BELTON, Texas (KWTX) The Bell County Public Health District is being recognized for its innovation and mobile point of dispensing unit.

In the event of an infectious outbreak in Bell County, or short-duration POD operation, the unit allows residents in rural areas access to preventive measures such as vaccines -- without having to leave their communities.

"Point-of-dispensing operation is an operation enacted when you have an emergency health disease or infection and you need to get either pills or vaccine to people in a rapid way, we use point-of-dispensing operation to do that," said Gene Mikeska.

The Mo-POD, which has been in development for almost two years, is the first of its kind in the country.

For the unit, the health department received an award from the National Association of County and City Health Officials in the category of "advance an innovative medical countermeasures enterprise" during a ceremony in Orlando, Fla.

"Across Texas, rural areas are built around farming and ranching, railroad stops, or small towns with few resources. The Mo-POD unit provides needed resources to multiple rural communities in an efficient and timely manner," a release stated.

The award putting Bell County on a national spotlight.

”It’s good that we’re at the cutting-edge. What the people of Bell County need to know is that we’re out here and we’re working hard for that cutting-edge technology every day of the week," Mikeska said.

Inside the trailer, supplies and equipment for volunteers allowing the unit to go pretty much anywhere a vehicle can go. The Mo-POD also allows for residents to connect with a doctor via video chat if necessary.

“If an individual is needing medication or vaccine but is unsure if they can take it due to medical complications, they can talk face-to-face with a physician or pharmacist," Mikeska said.

The unit is also set up for drive-thru or walk-thru services at more than one location simultaneously, eliminating the need of having multiple locations with POD set ups.

"We believe it’s going to be a valuable asset for Bell County and surrounding areas," Mikeska added.

He says the Mo-POD unit is still in the testing phase with the goal of getting it on the streets of Bell County.

The Bell County Medical Reserve Corp, Planning Committee, Emergency Operations and Texas State Guard all assisted in the building the unit.