The community of Coaque is about a 15-minute drive along the highway from where the Canadian Red Cross field hospital is based in Pedernales, Ecuador. The field hospital has been supporting a local health facility damaged by the April earthquake. Doctor Patricia Connick has been going out on mobile clinics like this nearly every day of her one-month mission.

“The mobile clinics are an opportunity for people in rural areas to get access to health care they wouldn’t have access to otherwise because they have no money to travel and the roads are poor,” says Dr. Connick. “We’re equipped with medications for common problems that can worsen like pneumonia, hypertension and diabetes.”

Morning line-up just after opening at the Canadian Red field hospital in Pedernales
Morning line-up just after opening at the Canadian Red field hospital in Pedernales, Ecuador. Photo: Nicole Robicheau, Canadian Red Cross
Canadian Red Cross Doctor Patricia Connick getting medication ready to go out on a mobile clinic
Canadian Red Cross Doctor Patricia Connick getting medication ready to go out on a mobile clinic at the Canadian Red Cross field hospital in Pedernales, Ecuador. Photo: Nicole Robicheau, Canadian Red Cross
Child waits for Ecuador Red Cross volunteers to set up the child friendly space
Child waits for Ecuador Red Cross volunteers to set up the child friendly space in the morning at the Canadian Red Cross field hospital in Pedernales, Ecuador. Photo: Nicole Robicheau, Canadian Red Cross.
Ecuador Red Cross paramedic students look on
Ecuador Red Cross paramedic students look on as local doctor at the Canadian Red Cross field hospital in Pedernales, Ecuador treats patients with eye problem. Photo: Nicole Robicheau, Canadian Red Cross.
Ecuador Red Cross paramedic student takes blood pressure
Ecuador Red Cross paramedic student takes the blood pressure of a patient before she’s admitted to the Canadian Red Cross field hospital in Pedernales, Ecuador. Photo: Nicole Robicheau, Canadian Red Cross
Little girl putting on a brave face
Little girl putting on a brave face as she receives a hepatitis vaccine by a local Ministry of Health nurse at a mobile clinic supported by the Canadian Red Cross field hospital in Coaque, Ecuador. Photo: Nicole Robicheau, Canadian Red Cross
Local Ministry of Health dentist examines a patient
Local Ministry of Health dentist Victor Yugal examines a patient at a mobile clinic supported by the Canadian Red Cross field hospital in Coaque, Ecuador. Photo: Nicole Robicheau, Canadian Red Cross
Doctor examining a baby with a rash at a mobile clinic
Doctor Patricia Connick examining a baby with a rash at a mobile clinic supported by the Canadian Red Cross field hospital in Coaque, Ecuador. Photo: Nicole Robicheau, Canadian Red Cross
Ecuador Red Cross psychosocial intervention for children at a mobile clinic
Ecuador Red Cross psychosocial intervention for children at a mobile clinic supported by the Canadian Red Cross field hospital in Coaque, Ecuador. Photo: Nicole Robicheau, Canadian Red Cross
Drawings by children visiting the child friendly space
Drawings by children visiting the child friendly space of the Canadian Red Cross field hospital in Pedernales, Ecuador. Photo: Nicole Robicheau, Canadian Red Cross.

The clinics are also an opportunity to provide pre-natal care. Indeed, the first patient out of the 38 people that Dr. Connick sees in Coaque is Yamela, a 23-year-old pregnant woman.
Dr. Connick examines her and gives her some iron pills to take away.

The local Ministry of Health ran mobile clinics before the earthquake and the Ecuador Red Cross, supported by the Canadian Red Cross, is assisting with provision of care as the health system recovers.

A local nurse and dentist from the Ministry of Health are also part of the mobile clinic team. The nurse provides hepatitis vaccinations to children while the dentist does tooth extractions.

“Many people who don’t have access to dental care have abscesses and infections,” says dentist Victor Yugal.

He ends up removing 11 teeth in Coaque.

Additionally, two Ecuador Red Cross paramedic students help Dr. Connick and two others offer psychosocial support.

“We go around and do home visits in the community and let people know what we are doing and that
we can provide support,” says Gabby Ordoñez.

Today she provides clinical therapy to three people, two of whom are not sleeping and eating properly after the earthquake.

Gabby ends the day with an activity with children where they sit around in a circle together and colour and are given the chance to talk about their feelings.

The mobile clinic and the field hospital it supports are possible thanks to a partnership between the Canadian Red Cross and Global Affairs Canada.