Photos and interviews by Rachel Hoffman
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!”