Nova Scotia

Student-run Halifax health centre up and running again

The free drop-in health centre, which operates between 1:30 and 4 p.m. on Sundays at the 1246 LeMarchant St. location, opened Oct. 1.

The free drop-in centre that operates during the academic year will offer flu shots

HOPES Health Centre is free and works on a drop-in basis. (Shutterstock/funnyangel)

The student-run Halifax Outreach Prevention Education Support (HOPES) health centre is up and running again.

The free health centre, which operates between 1:30 and 4 p.m. on Sundays at the 1246 LeMarchant St. location — the same building as Dalhousie Health Services — opened Oct. 1.

"What makes us unique … is that we don't need an ID or health card from anyone that comes by and they're able to receive services from a number of different health professionals," said Holly Mathias, co-executive director at HOPES Health Centre.

The centre works on a drop-in basis and there are services from a number of health professionals offered — including doctors, nurses, dentists, dieticians, pharmacists and occupational therapists.

It is comprised of students from Dalhousie University, Mount Saint Vincent University and the paramedic college Medavie HealthEd. Junior students work in health promotion and education while senior students offer the primary care.

For its pilot run, the health centre operated between February and April 2017 to coincide with the academic year. The goal was to provide low-income and homeless people with better access to health services, but Mathias said the centre is open to everybody.

"Anyone can come to see us. They won't be turned away," she said.

Vaccinations offered

One of the new things HOPES will offer this time around is a variety of free vaccines including the flu shot, tetanus shot and Pneumovax. The vaccines won't be offered every week but during prescheduled clinics with a community family doctor.

"We had a number of people stop by and receive services and we had some really great feedback, not only from the visitors but from other organizations in the community. So this year we're working really hard to build on that," said Mathias.

"What we're trying to do now is really make sure that people know where to find us."

In addition to the health centre on LeMarchant Street, HOPES also runs services, ranging from a foot clinic to social work, out of St. Andrew's Church on Robie Street on Sundays between 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.