Malta: The Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) mobile care centre programme in Latvia, supported by Maltese-owned Premier Restaurants Latvia, is to treat 4,300 children this year.

One of 49 mobile care centres operated around the world by RMHC Global, the Latvia facility has delivered free healthcare to more than 10,000 children in the country since 2011.

With a dedicated team of more than 30 doctors, the mobile care centre reaches every town in rural areas where access to healthcare remains difficult. Visits are scheduled on demand, usually at the request of social care workers and medical specialists from orphanages and boarding schools.

The €400,000 mobile care centre is a 40-foot long, eight-foot wide, state-of-the-art vehicle built for delivering pediatric health care. It is a registered medical facility with two examination rooms, a laboratory, an eye clinic, a reception, and a video education corner. It is completely self-sufficient with a generator and its own water supply.

Working closely with the Children’s Clinical University Hospital of Latvia, the Ministry of Health and the Latvian Union of Municipalities, the mobile care centre travels the Latvian countryside daily and treats 450 children every month.

Latvia’s best pediatricians and specialists allow the mobile care facility to offer primary health care, diagnostic, asthma treatment and self-management, and the services of specialists including ophthalmology child neurologist, endocrinologist, dermatologist, otolaryngologist (ENT), and gastroenterologist. To date, it has invested more than €500,000 in healthcare for Latvian children, including €48,000 in eye disease diagnostic equipment.

The number of patients it has treated has grown steadily from 1,713 in 2011 to 4,253 last year. This year RMHC Latvia plans to add new services based on community data and medical research.

“Latvia’s Ronald McDonald Care Mobile performs a critical service because access to healthcare remains a real challenge for rural families,” RMHC Latvia chairman Jerry Wirth explains. “We often provide the first opportunity many of these children have to see specialists like neurologists, ENT’s, allergists, among many others. If a child is diagnosed with a condition needing further examination, that child jumps to the front of the queue for further treatment at Riga’s Children’s Hospital.  On average, we find one of these children every day. We respond to need, and when requested, we add a new service.  Last year we added an ear, nose and throat service.  Let’s see what this year brings.”

RMHC Latvia is supported by Linstow, Johnson & Johnson, KPMG, Microsoft, Premier Restaurants Latvia, Diatom Enterprise, Lawin, Klavins & Slaidins, Meditec, Cemex, 77Agency, International Rotary Club of Riga, Hotel Bergs, RB Management, American Chamber of Commerce in Latvia, Coca Cola HBC Latvia, DHL Latvia, GE Healthcare Clinical Systems, Merck Sharp & Dohme, Radisson SAS, Volvo Truck, Grand Palace Hotel, and Neste.

Premier Restaurants Latvia is part of Premier Capital plc, the developmental licencee for McDonald’s in Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Lithuana, and Malta. Premier Capital plc’s chairman Melo Hili sits on the RMHC Latvia board.

Around the world, the Ronald McDonald mobile care programme provides access to healthcare to children in vulnerable communities. Its services are diverse: it focuses on the treatment of pediatric cancer in Poland, ophthalmology in Thailand, and immunisation in New Orleans. By providing cost-effective, high quality medical, dental and health education services, the mobile care centre programme reaches out to thousands of children.

RMHC Global has local chapters in 58 countries and regions, and its programmes are present in more than three-quarters of the world’s best children’s hospitals. Over €145 million has been collected through RMHC donation boxes. Every year, RHMC helps more than seven million families stay together.

RMHC Global’s largest corporate partner is the McDonald’s system worldwide, which includes owners, operators, suppliers, employees, and customers. RMHC is a non-profit organisation and relies on the support of the wider international community. It welcomes fund-raising efforts and contributions in cash or in kind.