A Jungle Medical Clinic Opens – New Use for Ocean Containers

A Jungle Medical Clinic Opens – New Use for Ocean Containers

SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR, JUNE 16, 2009 – Deep in the Salvadoran jungle, rural residents are receiving free medical treatment in a 40-foot cargo container. Ocean shipping line APL helped bring the healthcare innovation to life.

APL, the world’s 7th-largest carrier, supported HOPE CHARITABLE SERVICES of Portsmouth, Va. and its partners, Lend-A-Hand Mission Teams and the Diocese of Richmond, Va. this spring as they installed a state of the art and fully self contained clinic, with generator, air conditioning, bathroom and fully equipped examination rooms – fashioned from an APL container – in a rural village east of San Salvador. Since late-May medical clinic volunteers have been serving 1,500 residents of El Sitio who’ve been relocated following earthquakes and mudslides.

“The innovative spirit of the people who have brought this clinic to the interior is remarkable,” said Mike Noone, Vice President of the U.S. Eastern Region for APL. “It was an honor for us to support their efforts.”

Bishop Frank Allen, in partnership with the Rev. Deacon Darrell Wentworth and the Rev. Bobby Hoyle – all from the Virginia port city area -- led the effort to modify a standard APL cargo container last winter. Half of the portable facility is a medical clinic; the other side is a dental suite.

An APL vessel shipped the clinic from the U.S. to Guatemala. Then the company arranged transportation to El Salvador. The container was trucked into the jungle, placed on a foundation and connected to power and water sources.

“To watch this idea unfold and become reality has been an incredible gift,” said the Rev. Deacon Wentworth of the Diocese of Richmond.