Mobile clinics and teams are crucial for reaching and treating vulnerable individuals who lack access to basic services

In various countries around the world, in crisis contexts, and even in Italy, in suburbs and rural areas, our work often relies on a so-called “mobile” approach. Mobile clinics, which are ambulances or vans equipped with medical equipment and supplies, allow us to reach remote and disadvantaged areas and provide emergency interventions where people remain isolated and disconnected from essential services, especially healthcare.


This approach aims to facilitate access to medical services for marginalised individuals and address the serious consequences they face in terms of their health and overall well-being. Mobile clinics represent a flexible and adaptable model that enables us to quickly and effectively reach people in need of urgent medical care or protection. Our mobile medical intervention focuses on physical health and the mental and social health of the communities we assist.


In addition to primary medical services, with mobile clinics, we provide pre and post-natal assistance and intervene to treat malnutrition through nutritional therapies. This approach aims to meet the specific needs of the communities involved and ensure that men, women, and children have access to adequate medical care. Typically, a mobile clinic team consists of doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacology experts, nutritionists, and basic life support (BLS) responders. The specific activities of mobile clinics may vary depending on local needs and the challenges of the context. All necessary medications for the mobile clinic are usually purchased internationally. Nutritious food and therapeutic food are provided by the World Food Programme (WFP) and government health offices with whom we collaborate in the field.


Mobile clinics in INTERSOS missions


The importance of collaboration between INTERSOS, other humanitarian actors, and local authorities in coordinating efforts to provide healthcare to vulnerable populations is crucial to maximise resource effectiveness and ensure a coordinated and comprehensive response. Among the countries where we are currently working with active mobile clinic projects are Ukraine, Afghanistan, Italy, Yemen, Syria, Nigeria, and Burkina Faso.


For example, in Yemen, where over 42% of the population lives more than an hour away from the nearest health facility, we have a mobile clinic in the Al Ribat camp, where we provide medical care and nutritional support to people living in precarious conditions. In Afghanistan, our mobile clinics are operating in the southern part of the country, providing basic care in remote areas with limited coverage by a strained healthcare system.


Mobile clinics go beyond providing healthcare services in crisis situations such as armed conflicts, natural disasters, or mass displacements. They also work closely with local communities to promote health awareness, hygiene practices, and disease prevention. In this regard, our professionals conduct training and awareness sessions on health, distribute hygiene kits, and provide information on hygienic practices to prevent diseases.