Phelophepha's next station is Cape Town, providing free wellness service

Soweto bids farewell to healthcare train

Doctors are seen testing their patients eye sight outside the mobile health train ‘Phelophepha’ in Pienaarsrivier, a town some 55km north of Pretoria.
Doctors are seen testing their patients eye sight outside the mobile health train ‘Phelophepha’ in Pienaarsrivier, a town some 55km north of Pretoria.
Image: JOHN WESSELS

The Transnet Phelophepha healthcare train II at the weekend bid farewell to the Gauteng province after its final two-week round of free healthcare services for the community of Soweto.

The monumental train, which was stationed at Dube station and is now heading to Cape Town, arrived in the province in August for the first time in its 26 years of existence and has worked together with the Gauteng department of health to offer primary healthcare services which have been lacking due to the outbreak of Covid-19  pandemic.

It also provided Covid-19 screening and testing for community members. Other healthcare services that were offered include dental, oral, eye and pharmacy.

Psychology and train manager of Phelophepha, Claudia Munyai, said  one of the challenges in Gauteng  was servicing the scores of people from Soweto but said they  managed to attend to all the patients.

“The services that were in demand in Soweto were the primary healthcare and eye care services and one of the challenges we experienced was crowd control, but  we managed to attend to all the patients as we would even close the clinic late at night,” said Munyai.

"We also offered counseling and therapeutic services that were in need and oral health services to primary school learners."

Sandile Gwayi, communications manager for Johannesburg health district,

said a total of 1,137 patients were registered and 10 of those patients were disabled, 328 patients were offered psychology services and 385 patients received eye care treatment  and 422 received curative services, 224 children were reached in social visit workshop and  85 elderly people were reached in old age workshops.

Gwayi said the healthcare train had been helpful because patients who had gone for other services were also screened and tested for Covid-19.

“The train has assisted the department of health with provision of eye care services with same day issuing of spectacles, augmenting dental, acute, cervical and prostate cancer screening service provision of psychosocial services as an outreach programme to school-going children and elderly."

Transnet spokesperson Ayanda Shezi said  they were overwhelmed by the participation of communities, especially in Gauteng.

“ We thank the support from Gauteng government, Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni district health departments. “               

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