A Day at a Mobile Clinic: A Patient’s Perspective

Photos and interviews by Rachel Hoffman

silvia1First, Silvia checks in with a nurse, who writes down her basic information and creates her patient history.silvia2Mobile Clinic volunteers, with the supervision of a local nurse, take Silvia and Janice’s temperature, height, weight, and blood pressure.


 doctorAt the doctor’s station, a MEDLIFE doctor listens to the patient’s symptoms and writes a prescription if necessary.pharmacyThe pharmacist dispenses antibiotics and multivitamins for Janice and iron supplements for Silvia.

Silvia Huafatoca came to a MEDLIFE Mobile Clinic in Tena, Ecuador last December with her 2-year old daughter, Janice. The clinic took place in a schoolhouse just down the street from the small house she shares with her husband, daughter, parents, and three siblings. Having never heard of MEDLIFE before, Silvia approached the clinic cautiously, and was relieved to find out that doctors and medications would be provided free of charge.

“My daughter has a cough right now,” she told us. “I’m glad the doctors came here, close to my house, because sometimes we can’t get to the clinic.” She said the cost of transportation (40 cents each way for a two-hour bus ride) and time spent waiting at the closest health clinic often prevent her from going. When Janice was just one year old, Silvia took her there for a bad cough, and she was diagnosed with pneumonia and given antibiotics. Between the ride and the wait times, going to the doctor took a full day, and sometimes Silvia didn’t have time or money for treatment. “This was a better experience, it’s a lot closer,” she said of the Mobile Clinic. “You just go to the doctor here, and the pharmacy’s right over there!” 


Hear it From MEDLIFErs

Testimonial Quote

Reya Seby
Western University

This trip motivated me more to pursue a career in the healthcare field so that I can use my resources to help those who need it the most, similar to MEDLIFE’s mission.

Testimonial Quote

Victoria DiCanio
University of Connecticut

It was most enjoyable to finish the hard work and see how big a difference a group of individuals can make. It was such an amazing experience.

Testimonial Quote

Anita Woo
University of Toronto

I enjoyed the mobile clinics the most, especially the dental and triage portions. I would definitely recommend a MEDLIFE trip, it was a great experience.

Testimonial Quote

David Saff
Maclay High School

The most enjoyable part of my trip was hanging out with the amazing group of kids I was with. I would highly recommend a MEDLIFE volunteer trip to others.

Testimonial Quote

Sydney Sansone
Nova Southeastern University

This trip made everything that I was learning in my public health courses come to life and immersed me in a new culture while also learning about medicine.

Testimonial Quote

Abygail Youmans
College of Charleston

Being involved with MEDLIFE is not like joining another club - its bigger than that. It is about joining a movement that seeks to help change people’s quality of life for forever.

Testimonial Quote

Emi Hofmann
University of Central Florida

Not only was I able to participate in a week long Mobile Clinic, shadowing doctors of all types of specialties including pharmacy, dentistry, gynecology, and more, but I was also able to learn about the culture and visit incredible places.

Testimonial Quote

Julian Takagi-Stewart
University of Toronto

One thing that I really loved about this trip was that MEDLIFE made sure that the volunteers got an understanding of the complexity of issues that lead to underprivileged people in communities outside of the main city

Testimonial Quote

Hannah Van Hofwegen
University of Ottawa

Whether it was basketball with the local kids, assisting the doctors, talking with families, building washrooms, holding babies, or spending time with the people who were on the SLT with me, this was an amazing opportunity that I would do over and over again.

Testimonial Quote

Isabelle Holt
Cornell University

I loved learning about the patients MEDLIFE has followed and how they offer real help to people with chronic/urgent conditions. It is amazing how the organization formed real connections with the communities.

Testimonial Quote

Valerie Lindeborg

Our family had the privilege of participating in multiple trips with Nick [founder] and his amazing staff. Their expertise made the trips unforgettable while instilling in my boys the fundamentals of good character: selflessness, compassion, and empathy.

Testimonial Quote

Harry Vildibill
University of Georgia

As an aspiring physician, MEDLIFE motivated me to further continue my goal of becoming a doctor. In fact, I enjoyed the Tanzania Service Learning Trip so much that I decided to go on another trip to Cusco, Peru.