Since 1999, the outreach nurses at Doctors of the World have been working in Montreal with dedicated community organization to reach people in need, wherever they are.
Since 2014, they have cared for them on board the Doctors of the World Mobile Health Clinic. This innovative clinic is a flexible solution that can reach homeless people in the streets, parks, shelters or other more discreet areas. The Mobile Health Clinic provides safe and dignified medical care, right from the van.
The people we encounter do not visit health clinics, particularly First Nations and Inuit people living in urban settings. They tend to be less likely to turn to state-run institutions since they feel the services are not adapted to their needs and often make them feel unwelcome. Many of them suffer from drug and alcohol abuse, health issues related to their life on the streets, as well as mental health problems. They often engage in risky behaviours resulting in sexually transmitted diseases and blood-borne infections.
The Mobile Health Clinic helps to bridge the gap between completely disenfranchised people and the Health and Social Services network. The goal is always to reach people who need healthcare in neighbourhoods where government-run outreach programs do not go. Together with the various Health and Social Services teams and community organisations who provide services for the homeless community, our efforts target people in need of medical and social care in order to reintegrate them into the public health system.
During 2018, a mobile health clinic will be hitting the streets of Victoria, British Columbia.