Photo: Alain Décarie
ALTERNATIVE HEALTH-CARE PRACTICES
It’s Friday evening. The sun has just gone down. Marc-André Coallier is helping nurse Louis-Thomas Moisan restock the mobile clinic with sterile materials.
Many homeless people don’t have health-care cards and don’t go to traditional clinics. If they miss an appointment, there’s no proper follow-up. So the clinic goes out to find them, every evening.
The truck sets off with Mylène, a psychology intern, aboard, and parks in front of PAQ (Projets Autochtones du Québec), a shelter for aboriginals located in downtown Montreal. A doctor is there, a volunteer. They say it’s a quiet evening, but when the truck arrives, the homeless are already lined up.
The van has only been cruising the streets since June, but they’ve gained the confidence of the people they’re trying to reach. In two hours, about a dozen homeless people climb
into the van for treatment. The night is still young – later on, there’ll be more people.
The mobile clinic offers general and integrated health-care services, as well as “just being there” as the situation requires. Nurses, doctors and community workers change bandages, administer medication and provide psychological support. They perform screening tests for HIV, venereal diseases and hepatitis. They monitor diabetes, take care of skin diseases and provide condoms and sterilized syringes. Their work helps Médecins du Monde bridge the gap between the most disadvantages people and the health and social service network.