Ideas We Love: Containers 2 Clinics with Elizabeth Sheehan


By Melissa Whittemore

 C2C shipping containersPicture this…a shipping container, abandoned in a rail yard, vacant, obsolete.

Now picture this…the same shipping container converted into a fully-stocked, fully-equipped health care clinic for women and children.

Elizabeth Sheehan, founder of Containers 2 Clinics (C2C), has taken thinking outside the box to a new level by catalyzing this transformation.  C2C’s mission is to reduce maternal and child mortality in low-income countries by providing access to sustainable primary health care for women and children.

Inside each of their converted containers is an adapted water and power hook-up for low-resource settings, climate-controls using solar-powered fans, ventilation and insulation, and wide windows that sit high on the walls to preserve privacy while letting in light and circulating air. There is also space for comprehensive care. Each container provides two private consultation areas, a laboratory and pharmacy, areas for record keeping and a shaded waiting and patient education area.

C2C Inside clininAnd each clinic is completely mobile. It can be loaded onto a flatbed truck and re-located to address infrastructure challenges, transient populations or the consequences of disaster wherever needed.

These shipping containers and the idea they represent helps mitigate the following global realities:  Each year 350,000 women will die during childbirth from preventable causes.  Ninety nine percent of them are in developing nations.  Annually, 8 million children die from preventable illnesses without access to treatments that are common place and inexpensive in the developed world.

From my own experience of becoming a mother, and having my basic needs attended to during my pregnancy, childbirth and post-natal, I am so struck at how lacking medical care is for women around the world. There were so many resources available at my fingertips from the moment I learned I was pregnant.  I had pre-natal check- ups, sonograms, and the unwavering support of nurses and doctors readily available.  I went to prenatal yoga, took birthing classes, and during my stay in the hospital post-delivery, I was surrounded by a supportive team of doctors as I struggled with breastfeeding and all the challenges that come with being a new mother.  I learned that becoming a mother is no easy task, even with all the conveniences of the developed world.

It moves me to know how many women are without this support as they embark on their journeys of motherhood. This is why the C2C model and Elizabeth Sheehan’s leadership is so inspiring to me.

To find out more about Elizabeth Sheehan, C2C, and their amazing contribution to our world, please visit their website,

C2C outside clinic


2 responses. Join the debate.

2 responses to “Ideas We Love: Containers 2 Clinics with Elizabeth Sheehan”

  1. Thank you for writing about the critical work we do to save lives of women and children in Haiti and Africa. Your personal journey to motherhood in this blog truly shows how interconnected we are with every other mother in the world. With deepest appreciation for all you do!
    Liz Sheehan, Founder C2C

  2. […] back, I posted a piece on Elizabeth Sheehan, Founder of Containers 2 Clinics.  I was touched by the work C2C is doing for […]

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While they were saying it couldn't be done, it was done.
— Helen Keller