News

Phelophepa train brings hope to Mpumalanga residents

Phelophepa train brings hope to Mpumalanga residents

The Mpumalanga public healthcare system received a welcome boost with the arrival of the Transnet Phelophepa train in Mbombela this week. Health MEC, Ms Sasekani Manzini, welcomed the mobile clinic which is set to deliver much-needed medical services to residents living in rural areas.

These mobile clinics travel to areas of South Africa where having only one doctor available for every 5000 people is nothing new. It runs for 36 weeks of the year and travels to 70 remote communities; bringing hope to citizens who are in need of access to healthcare facilities.

Residents are delighted to be on board the Phelophepa train in a province where people have to wake up in the wee hours of the morning to start queueing for medical services at public clinics and hospitals.

Residents happy to be on board

Elinah Montane, from Msogwaba, which falls under the Ehlanzeni District Municipality, said she had to leave her home at midnight to be first in the queue to have her eye problems seen to.

“If I had to go to an optometrist, I would have paid good money, more like R3 000. These glasses I received will last at least two years. I am very happy with the service on the train and I hope it will reach others,” said Montane.

Lydenburg resident, Pompi Ledwaba, was very impressed with the service he received.

“I want to salute the government for this Phelophepa train which is helping so many people. What really touches my heart is how hospitable these people are towards us. They are treating us with respect and dignity so everyone is happy,” said Ledwaba.

A whole new world

The Phelophepa train is a breath of fresh air for residents who are helped within a day and are not sent from one clinic to another. They also have access to top-notch facilities and services which are either free or offered at a reasonable price. Patients only pay R5 for their medicine prescriptions.

Services include eye and dental consultations as well as access to healthcare education, comprehensive physical assessments, treatment for cancer, pap smears and testing for prostate cancer.

The eye care clinic offers free eye tests, spectacles which cost only R30 and eye drops which can be bought for R5. All services are free to children who are 15 years and younger and are offered on a first come, first serve basis. Residents need to bring their clinic cards as well as immunisation certificates for children.

COVID-19 jabs also available

Transnet Phelophepa train manager, Bheki Mendlula, said they are bringing a complete bouquet of services including mental health and pharmceutical services. He also urged the public to make use of the cancer screening services and get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“With the ongoingn pandemic, we have started to assist with the COVID-19 vaccination rollout program. The turnout has been good but at the moment, the demand for eye care is overwhelming. But it’s good to see that people are willing to be vaccinated,” said Mendlula.

He added: “We will provide more clarity around the issue of vaccines because there is so much fake news and unfortunately some people tend to believe some of it. They are discrediting the use of vaccines and in the long run, it. If the majority of us take the vaccine, the sooner we can get back to normality and the longer we take, the more chance there is of new variants developing. We encourage our people to take the vaccine and to be safe and protected.”

Manzini joined Mendlula in urging citizens to get vaccinated.

“We are still in the middle of the pandemic and we would like to urge everyone to get vaccinated. People must also not forget to continue to adhere to COVID-19 protocols,” she said.

The train will move to Carolina, Ermelo and Bethal where it will be stationed for two weeks at a time. – Health-e News 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the author

Charlotte Mnguni

About the author

Bulelwa Maphanga