Liz writes in with information about an innovative new project to convert surplus shipping containers into medical clinics for people in the developing world. As it turns out, shipping containers are a pretty useful even if they aren’t shipping stuff around.

A shipping container, once retrofitted for use as a health clinic, is a durable, standardized, adaptable, secure structure with significant potential for replication and consistency in care. The interior of an industrial shipping container can be renovated to allow space for a small consultation room, a small laboratory, an office for staff, and storage and inventory space. Modified for ventilation, light, and utility connections, a container clinic provides a personalized, local-level venue for community members to seek treatment services or preventive health education.

In many places, shipping containers are used as stores, cellular based phone access points and more. Once they have delivered their goodies, sometimes they can have a long and useful life by staying in place.

The Container Clinic can be organized as a stand-alone structure, or to complement and improve services and capacity adjacent to an existing structure – health facility, community center, school, or church. The container clinic functions as a gathering place for community members providing robust health education programming to address a multiplicity of community health concerns including prevention of disease transmission, sexual health, gender relations, women’s health, antenatal care and eldercare.

By providing a shelter for the patients, medical staff and equipment Containers 2 Clincs hopes to make a dent in the pressing needs of those less fortunate. Their Facebook group has some more information and community around the project.

What is the most amazing thing you have seen done with a shipping container? Join us in the comments and add your photos and video to the MAKE Flickr pool.