Shipping containers provide more uses than holding supplies. The practice of “cargotecture” has taken off in recent years, and refurbishes old shipping containers by turning them into sustainable housing options. An organization that formed in 2002, called Clinic in a Can, is transforming shipping containers and utilizing them in a new way: to provide medical attention to those living in remote and rural areas, far away from hospitals or clinics.
According to their website, Clinic in a Can aims to combat the needless illnesses and deaths caused by lack of simple treatments by “bringing help and hope to communities with in which no healthcare facilities exist within hours’ or even days’ distance.” Their goal is to provide healthcare professionals with affordable and movable facilities to ensure that people receive proper medical attention, regardless of where they live.
Since the clinics are built within a shipping container they are very sustainable, and they can be easily transported between villages and towns.
Clinic in a Can has been successfully implemented in Haiti, South Sudan, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Kenya and the Philippines. During the West African Ebola crisis, they worked closely with many national and international medical groups to deliver their mobile clinics and help fight the spread of the disease. In March 2015, they partnered with Project HOPE and sent four clinics to Sierra Leone to help the country’s fight against Ebola.
Currently, Clinic in a Can is working to expand wherever needed. The organization works closely with international organizations to ensure that their medical facilities are catered and delivered to isolated populations that need them, especially during humanitarian crises.
These mobile medical clinics are proven to be both sustainable and highly innovated. They run off of solar power, which means they don’t have to use unreliable power grids, and can travel to rural locations that don’t even have access to electricity. They are also all equipped with 50 liter water filtration systems, so they can safely use water from any local source.
Versatile and In Demand
Clinic in a Can sees their units used for a numerous medical situations. The clinics can be set up as basic exam rooms (health or dental), used for surgeries, births, as isolation units or utilized for critical care patients. Their versatility shows how in-demand different forms of medical care is, as well as their ability as an organization to meet those demands.
There are three different types of clinics: premium, which offers everything a doctor or nurse would need to treat basic patients; economy, a less-expensive version of the premium clinic; and isolation, which is specially designed for patients suffering from various infectious diseases. The clinics are also available in two sizes: 20 or 40 foot-long containers.
Clinic in a Can partners with Midmark to ensure their clinics are supplied with effective medical equipment. Midmark provides them with “exam tables, stools, lights, cabinetry, computer stands, diagnostics, sterilizers and other customizable options.”