BOSTON–Can an old shipping container get new life as a health clinic? Elizabeth Sheehan of Dover, Massachusetts says yes.
Sheehan is a trained physicians assistant, and while working in clinics and hospitals in countries like Nepal, India and Indonesia, she saw the need for improved access to preventive health care.
“There were no hospitals for hours and hours in any direction,” she says of Cambodia, where she worked for the British Group the Halo Trust, that removes landmines. “There was no clean water, there was no health clinic, there was no doctor.”
Then last year, Sheehan read an article titled “The Global Health Burden” in Foreign Affairs magazine, in which health economist Laurie Garrett highlighted the lack of preventive health care in developing countries and laid out a solution: convert shipping containers into health clinics for use there.
Sheehan wanted to put Garrett’s idea into action. “Shipping Containers litter the world,” Sheehan says, “they’re often used once and they sit there.” Sheehan founded the group Containers to Clinics, or C2C, that turns the containers into health clinics.
She plans to ship the first clinic to the Dominican Republic early next year, and hopes to have 250 clinics operating across the world in the next ten years.