Territorial & Freely Associated Oral Health Programs
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
Geography: The CNMI consists of a chain of 14 islands extending northward from Guam. Most of the residents inhabit only three islands (Rota, Tinian and Saipan) equating to 181 square miles of land. The CNMI relies heavily on expatriate workers from Southeast Asia and the Philippines, and therefore has a mixed population base of Asian descent (56%) and Pacific Islander (Micronesian) ancestry (36%). Guam and the CNMI have a more stable infrastructure of utilities and services than some of the other jurisdictions. Basic services such as electricity and potable tap water are delivered more consistently and safely, unlike in AS and the FAS. However, in 2015, one of the strongest typhoons in the Pacific, Typhoon Sodelor, caused devastating damage to CNMI leaving many homeless and/or without water and electricity. It took nearly four years to fully recover from Typhoon Sodelor; however, in mid-October, 2018, another typhoon, Super Typhoon Yutu, once again wrecked CNMI, crippling many of the infrastructures including access to health care services. The official languages are English, Chamorro and Carolinian with a literacy rate of 97%.
Health Services: The Commonwealth Health Center (CHC), an 86-bed Medicare-certified hospital, is the only health care provider in the CNMI.
Demography: The population of CNMI is 50% Asian, 34.9% Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and ~15.2% other races. CNMI boasts the second highest per capita income in the USAPIs, however, the percent of population that falls below the FPL is 52.3%.
Sociocultural determinants of health: With most of the CNMI population living on three adjacent islands, including Saipan where the CHC is located, the biggest determinants of access to health care are finances. High poverty rates and lack of transportation make travel from outer islands difficult as there are only six airports, and most boats only ferry between specific islands.
* Information provided by PIHOA in 2019 and adapted for the ASTDD Needs Assessment Project and this webpage