A group of three women is braving on wheels across the Mississippi Delta region by offering free reproductive and sexual health care services to help communities who have no access to these basic services.
(Photo : FRANCOIS PICARD/AFP via Getty Images)
A woman stands at the check-in window of the Hope Medical Group for Women in Shreveport, Louisiana, April 19, 2022.
In a report by Good Morning America (GMA), a mobile health clinic called Plan A was featured to give light on the services founded by Dr. Caroline Weinberg to address Mississippi’s health crisis.
The clinic is offering free mammograms, contraception, and STD testing, pap smears, and other sexual and reproductive services to patients regardless of their income, location, or insurance status. Plan A has been operating since April of last year.
Weinberg acknowledged in a statement that they could not solve every health care problem, such as having expensive equipment like a mammogram machine and a colonoscopy to be made accessible. But with their clinic, they hope that they can still help and “expand whatever ways” they can to provide for the patient’s needs.
“Overturning Roe v. Wade”
Juliet Thomas, Plan A’s community health worker, said in an interview with GMA that with their services around reproductive and sexual health care, they might be able to destigmatize the conversation about sex.
She acknowledged that sex and birth control are considered taboo, and she hopes that Plan A will combat these challenges.
It is worth noting that Weinberg also built this clinic in hopes of overturning Roe v. Wade, a legal case that ruled abortion as unconstitutional. The clinic, however, is not offering free abortions, but she said that their clinic is playing a role in “offering preventive measures” on unwanted pregnancies.
“Roe v. Wade being overturned in really any capacity doesn’t directly impact our day today, but it has an incredible impact on the community that we serve,” she said
Her clinic seeks to empower women by giving them the options to “move forward with their reproductive health,” which according to her, is being challenged due to the limitations imposed within the state.
Besides its sexual and reproductive services, Plan A has also included primary care services such as blood pressure screenings and COVID-19 vaccines to address other health issues in the region.
Plan A has also built a brick-and-mortar clinic in Louise, Mississippi, to broaden its services to more communities.
Mississippi happens to be one of the 12 states to not expand Medicaid after the passage of the Affordable Act in 2010. This serves as a vital source of revenue for hospitals and ensures health care services for poor Americans.
The federal government is responsible for covering 90% of Medicaid’s costs, while the 10% is covered by the state. Despite the eight expansion bills proposed in this year’s legislative session, they are still unprioritized.
Plan A’s program coordinator Desiree Norwood hopes that through their initiative, they can at least fill the gaps of the government’s health care system.
” I know that there’s so much more great work that Plan A is going to do for the area, and I feel hopeful,” she added that the Mississippi Delta is often considered one of the unhealthiest places in the U.S.
“But we’re determined to change the narrative,” she said.
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Written by Joaquin Victor Tacla
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