Natalie Narvey arrived in Halifax about a month ago almost broke, without a place to stay, and pregnant.
Living in a building that she said “should have been condemned”, the 25-year-old quickly developed health problems and wasn’t sure where to go for help.
A few weeks later, Narvey says she’s feeling much better - thanks to a new mobile health clinic which provides on-the-spot care to at-risk populations in Halifax.
The Mobile Outreach Street Health (MOSH) program has been making the rounds in the city for a few months, but had its official launch Thursday on Brunswick Street.
“They’re a really good program,” Narvey said as she sat among the 200 people who showed up for the event. “They got me set up with doctors for my pregnancy and got me a prenatal blood test. I’ve been on the streets, but I have a job and I’m trying to work so I can be ready for when my baby comes.”
A joint project between the provincial government and several corporate and community organizations, the MOSH van was the brainchild of Diane Bailey and Patti Melanson, two community health advocates who worked closely with patients in Halifax’s North End.
The vehicle is equipped with basic supplies and can provide numerous services to clients on the street including blood work, vaccinations, basic first aid and birth control. MOSH can also foot the bill for certain medications, and connect clients with doctors.
“In this area, we have a pretty concentrated delivery of things like shelter, food, and support with housing,” said Rick Swaine, a community health nurse who works full-time with MOSH.
“A lot of agencies are finding there are some immediate health issues that they’re coming across, like someone arriving at the Turning Point (shelter) with a history of asthma…I see (MOSH) as a wonderful opportunity to get out a little bit further into the community.”