Sometimes it is easy for us to take for granted our access to even basic medical care in the United States. We enjoy the luxury of even simple medical care like pain medicine and Neosporine as well as the ability to get casts for broken limbs and stitches for gaping wounds. Unfortunately, in many developing countries, the medical care is limited both in the quality of the treatment as well as the number of facilities that can provide treatment. Sadly, as a result, many people die needlessly before they are able to receive even basic medical treatment.
At the JFK Memorial Medical Center in Monrovia, Liberia, a man limped into the emergency room. He lived in a remote part of Liberia and had gotten bit by a poisonous snake while working in a field. Since no proper medical clinic was nearby, he first visited the witch doctor who basically just applied manure to his leg. After his leg only got worse and not better, he walked two days to the hospital for treatment. By the time he arrived, his leg was so swollen that he could barely walk. He desperately needed the proper anti-venom to counter-act the poison that had already worked its way through his body. He was immediately treated for the snake bite but he needed to have the leg that had turned gangrene amputated. Because in his culture he would be viewed as worthless if he did not have his leg he would rather die than have his leg amputated. His condition worsened and he died hours later.
It is tragic experiences like this that inspired a medical mission nonprofit based in Wichita, Kansas, Hospitals of Hope, to find an innovative and practical way to provide the basic medical care that is needed around the world.
One of the most exciting ways they work to prevent unnecessary deaths and give quality medical care is with the Clinic in a Can program. Clinic in a Cans are self-contained medical clinics built in 40-foot shipping containers that can be sent nearly anywhere in the world, creating an instant, fully-equipped medical clinic.
The typical Clinic in a Can consists of two exam rooms, a laboratory, and a mechanical room with a generator and water system. The generator and water system allow the clinic function and be sent nearly anywhere and not be dependent on local electricity or water supply.
Clinics have also been modified to contain a dental room, a radiology suite, or a surgical suite. A total of ten container clinics have already been sent to Haiti and South Sudan.
Through these container clinics, quality medical care is being brought closer to those who may never have had access to it before.