Mobile unit caters to less fortunate

Imagine you need birth control, a blood pressure screening or your child needs his or her immunizations, but you have no transportation, health insurance and money. Well, there is a solution to your problem. Those are just a few of the services offered by the Leon County Mobile Health Unit.

The mobile health unit is a clinic on wheels, said Donna Payne, senior clerk at the Leon County Health Department. “We go to various sites in the community where people have a problem getting to the clinic,” she said.

Rueben Felder, 19, a general studies student from Miami, said the mobile health unit sounds like a good idea especially they can help and you don’t have anywhere else to go.

The medical staff on board the mobile health unit consists of a registered nurse, a certified nurse’s assistant, patient care assistants and a health support technician.

The mobile health unit provides the following services: family planning-birth control method (birth control pill and Depo shot), pregnancy tests, free condoms, childhood immunizations, confidential HIV testing, blood pressure screenings, sexually transmitted disease screening and education, and health education.

“Currently the most common services being utilized are HIV testing, birth control, pregnancy tests and child immunizations,” Payne said.

The mobile health unit provides low-cost health care.

Leon County offers these services on a sliding scale fee based on the ability to pay. “We look at a person’s income and a fee is assessed based on their ability to pay. No one gets turned away,” said Payne who is a certified nurse’s assistant.

“It’s a serious issue when you don’t have health insurance, but at least there is somewhere you can still receive medical attention,” Felder said, citing that the mobile unit would not be his first choice to get medical care. “I would use the mobile health unit as a last resort,” Felder said.

“It may be hard for students to go to the clinic and be seen, so this is just another option, another outlet,” Payne said.

Shaneka Roberts, 20, a junior elementary education student from Orlando said, she might consider using the mobile health unit because it’s a long wait to be seen at the FAMU clinic.

“If the service is faster, I would definitely use (the mobile health unit), but I don’t want to use the services that seem specific for residents of the local communities,” Roberts said.

“We would like to see more students utilize the services because they are available for you,” she said.

With transportation issues, lack of health care facilities and health educators serving as barriers to adequate health care, the unit wants to help anyone available.

“It helps people who are not insured or have problems getting care,” Payne said.

For a complete schedule of upcoming service locations, please call the Leon County Health Department at (850) 487-3186 or visit

Contact Malika Harrison at