RIDGEWAY, S.C. — A Prisma Health mobile care clinic is making its way through rural parts of the Midlands during the weekends.
This is thanks to a $200,000 grant from the South Carolina Center for Rural and Primary Healthcare that started in May 2022.
The mobile unit is making stops in Eastover, Rembert, Ridgeway, and Swansea. This Saturday, it was set up in Ridgeway.
"It's a good thing for people to come and keep a check on their pressures, their blood pressure and their sugar levels and everything so that way they know what's going on with their body," Audra Gibson, Ridgeway resident said.
Gibson was just one of the handful of people who came to the mobile clinic in Ridgeway Saturday.
She tells News 19 she found out about it by word of mouth and encourages others to come too.
It's open to anyone, including those without healthcare.
"The purpose of the clinic is for us to be able to provide an opportunity for people in the community to be able to connect to a primary source of healthcare," said nurse practitioner Deitra Watson. "We are trying to connect the community to identify areas and reasons why they are unable to access care. It could be because they do not have access in the form of a primary care doctor. They may not have access via transportation."
Another barrier is not being able to afford healthcare or not having time during the work week to see a doctor.
"We have a lot of aged or elderly people in Ridgeway and Fairfield county who don't have access to be able to go to places, to go to their doctor or hospitals and who don't have health coverage because a lot of them again are aged and are at this point in time they are retired," Ridgeway Mayor Heath Cookendorfer said. "And we know what the difficulties and times are right now, money, the dollar doesn't go as long as it used to. So having health care and having the ability to have healthcare to where our people have access to it is greatly important."
Full-fledged health care facilities are also far and few between in these rural areas like in Ridgeway. So this one-stop-shop offering services like blood pressure checks and reproductive health assessments is a solution.
The mobile units are always staffed by a nurse practitioner or physician, along with administrative staff in a location with health disparity and set up in a place based on community preference.
Even during the hundred-degree heat, these workers are out here giving their time and service because this community is in need.
The next mobile clinic will be hosted Saturday, June 25 in Rembert at the Union Baptist Church on 5840 Spring Hill Road. The grant lasts through the end of this year until February 2023, so future clinics will become available on Saturdays in the months to come.