Recently, I helped lead a clinic at an outreach center in one of the red-light districts of Bangkok. A short-term medical team had an extra day in Bangkok on their way back from serving in Cambodia and they were interested in helping out in whatever capacity we were able to use them. The host organization (which won’t be mentioned here) had wanted to start doing small, no-frills clinics as a way to reach out to the women in the hotels, bars, and on the street so they thought this was a good opportunity to start.
The clinic officially started at 3pm and finished after 10pm, in order to accommodate the women’s working schedules. We could have gone all night long (the women are going all night long) but we had to stop sometime. Some of the women came for a check up, then went back and collected several more friends and brought them for check ups as well.We offered basic exams and medical consultations, and handed out some free medicines – anything one can get over the counter. We also offered free blood testing for sexually transmitted infections to be arranged at a later date.
About 40 women from Thailand, Central Asia, and Africa were seen. Some had no particular complaints and just wanted a “check-up” while others were concerned about breathing problems, dental problems, sexually transmitted diseases, or unintended pregnancy. Since the clinic, several of the women have been followed up for care. Overall, the clinic was a success and the host organization and I are already discussing plans and improvements for the next one.
The short term team had several great characteristics that made such an outreach work well. They were all female, which meant that I had no problems fitting them into any kind of work and seeing any patient that happened to come through. The team was fairly small (total of eight people) which aided flexibility, mobility, orientation, and fitting into our small space feasible. Furthermore, they were all fairly young, willing, teachable, and most important: flexible!
Relentless is exploring more opportunities to lead more “red-light” clinics. If you are a dentist, physician, nurse, pharmacist, or other kind of health care professional and would like an opportunity to serve in this way, please contact Relentless. Please note that Relentless reserves the right to screen, accept, and reject applicants according to Relentless values, and the values of the host organizations.