U.S. Doctors for Africa is launching its first mobile clinic in Ethiopia in early 2008. Dr. Ted Alemayhu, founder and board member of U.S. Doctors for Africa, says his organization is committed to "deploying 200 mobile clinics to Africa by the year 2020." The pilot program in Ethiopia will provide basic health care, including vaccinations and minor surgeries, in rural areas. Teams of volunteer health care professionals from the U.S. will work with Africans to provide services and training simultaneuously. "Ultimately," says Dr. Alemayhu, "we hope local folks will be trained to take over with the whole process."
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The mobile clinics, about the size of a large trailer, will be shipped to various countries in Africa. The clinics are equipped with medical equipment and supplies and can be fully sterilized.
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Carmen Walker, Project Director and Biomedical Engineer for U.S. Doctors for Africa demonstrated some of the mobile clinic's features, including ...
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... a portable solar panel capable of powering an ultrasound machine or other equipment...
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... an operating table for small surgeries...
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... and laboratory equipment for many tests.
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The clinic is fully air-conditioned, carries a generous water supply, and is equipped with a refrigerator.
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Walker says the clinic hopes to see "at least 100 patients per day, if not more. The need is so great, because many people haven't had health care because it's too expensive or it takes too long, if they're walking, to get to a hospital... the numbers will increase as we get to know the communities we're working in."
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In an emergency situation, a truck carrying the mobile clinic can detach from the trailer to pick up patients for small surgeries or treatment. "We want to share our resources, our medications, and whatever we have to edify those people who are already there doing their best," Walker added.
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One Ethiopian-born nurse working in Washington, DC said she was ready to volunteer "whenever they need me to go."
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