The Ally Centre is branching out to more communities
The rolling health centre will be able to travel to various communities within the CBRM. (Matthew Moore/CBC)
A mobile clinic in Cape Breton has expanded its services, including the recent addition of an outreach nurse to bring health care to the streets in more communities.
Sharon MacKenzie said the rolling health centre allows her to be proactive by going where the need is, making it easier for people who might be nervous accessing services in the traditional way.
"People can access anything from a cup of coffee to overdose prevention and naloxone," MacKenzie said. "It's really meeting people where they are in the communities in which they live.
The mobile clinic, offered through the Ally Centre of Cape Breton, is able to travel to various communities within the CBRM, including New Waterford, Sydney Mines, North Sydney, Glace Bay and the north end of Sydney. The Ally Centre is a non-profit organization based in Sydney that helps people with mental health, addiction and homelessness issues.
Nova Scotia Health said it is providing the centre with funding and evaluation support for a one-year outreach health project.
The mobile clinic has been able to deliver flu shots and provide education across the CBRM.
MacKenzie said the type of care provided through the clinic bridges gaps within communities.
"Without the infrastructure that connects all these little towns, there's no transportation," she said. "We need to go there and help them feel connected or get them connected."
Outreach nurse Sharon MacKenzie says the mobile clinic allows her to help people in their own communities. (Matthew Moore/CBC)
The clinic also travels with peer-support workers who have been staffing the mobile since last December.
Those workers have lived experience, MacKenzie said, which means they understand first hand the struggles many people face when trying to access primary care.
"Everyone has a right to receive health care in a non-stigmatizing, non-judgmental way," MacKenzie said.
"People that are experiencing challenges have a say in how their problems are addressed collectively, and that their voices are heard and listened to."
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