NEW TOWN, N.D. (KXNET) — In an effort to continue improving the access and availability of healthcare, one tribal nation continues to invest in building more healthcare facilities on their land.

MHA Nation held a groundbreaking for the MHA Public Health Nursing Facility on Friday at the Elbowoods Memorial Health Center Campus.

The facility will house programs — like community health nursing, a vaccination clinic, and women infant care.

And Kathryn Eagle-Williams, the CEO of the Elbowoods Memorial Center, says it’s important to have public health services for community members.

“Public health and community health is extremely important to people throughout the country and especially to people among the American Indian tribes. And we actually utilize public health services to prevent health illnesses, injuries. It’s definitely prevention and intervention of health complications,” said Eagle-Williams.

After seeing how the Covid-19 pandemic impacted those on the Fort Berthold Reservation, Chairman Mark Fox says the tribal government knew a change was necessary.

“We went through a lot during the Covid, during the Pandemic. And we learned a lot of hard lessons as well. We suffered as well, but we learned about things that we need to do to better protect ourselves in the future and be more responsive. And this plays a role in that. But also about being healthier. How do we make our people more well? And this is represented by what we’re building today,” said Chairman Fox.

The MHA Public Health Nursing Facility is expected to be completed in a year and a half.