Lynette La Fontaine, nurse program coordinator with the Doctors of the World program, does paperwork between patients. The organization is providing primary health care to people around Greater Victoria who may be marginalized. (Photo by Stephanie Roussinos)

Lynette La Fontaine, nurse program coordinator with the Doctors of the World program, does paperwork between patients. The organization is providing primary health care to people around Greater Victoria who may be marginalized. (Photo by Stephanie Roussinos)

Mobile health clinic picking up patients at Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank

Doctors of the World offers primary health care to marginalized community members

A mobile health care clinic is growing in popularity at the Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank.

Doctors of the World has been providing health care services in Greater Victoria since spring 2018, but the van and its registered nurse health providers only started parking at the food bank in October.

There, the clinic on wheels offers primary care, check-ups, referrals and more to marginalized community members in the region. Every second Thursday the van pulls up at the food bank from 9 to 10:30 a.m.

With services including medical check-ups, flu shots, bandage changes and advice, Beverly Elder, executive director of the food bank, said just getting the word out is the hard part. “It’s starting to pick up now … We just think it’s a great service, we’re thrilled they picked us as one of their locations.”

READ ALSO: Peninsula organizations fund food bank ahead of ‘looming crisis’

And food bank volunteers haven’t missed a day of service since the pandemic started. An explosion of need was immediate in the wake of the pandemic but more than five months in, clients have begun to taper off. Elder doesn’t think that’s the end though.

“When all the COVID money runs out we might see an uptick,” she noted.

Doctors of the World will also be there, providing quick and accessible health care to those who need it.

Tina Price, volunteers and logistics manager for Doctors of the World Greater Victoria, said the organization is also an advocate for health care access across the board.

“We’re advocating for access to health care for everyone,” she said. “People facing marginalization, people living on the street, in parks, in shelters … the ultimate goal is being that bridge that connects people to other services.”

READ ALSO: Saanich Peninsula firefighters look to douse hunger with annual food drive


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