Polokwane: Poor Limpopo communities will from today get easy access to health care when the Phelophepa health train rolls in.
They will also be able to get services from the Departments of Home Affairs and Labour and the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa).
“The Phelophepa train will help address delivery of services to poor rural communities under one roof, providing a simple, one-stop service to its people,” said Limpopo Director of the Government Communication and Information System, Thanyani Ravhura.
He said the services would also be taken to local schools in the province.
“Teams are sent to the communities prior the train’s arrival to alert them about the services to be rendered to them. The teams also teach local volunteers and health professionals how to continue (to provide services) after the train’s departure,” added Ravhura.
The train will be in Polokwane from Monday to Friday; Musina from September 3 – 7, Makhado from September 10 – 14 and Tzaneen from September 24 – 28.
Medical check-ups are done for free, while specific treatment costs only R10 and medicines only R5. Those with eye problems pay only R30 for prescription eyeglasses.
Teeth are cleaned or removed for free.
The Phelophepa health train is an initiative of Transnet, which started in 1994 to give affordable primary health care to the needy.
Whenever the train pulls into a station, 40 health lifestyle volunteers are trained to help their community with health awareness.
Another 70 people are employed for various tasks, like interpreting for the doctors who might not speak the patient’s language, cleaning and other work.
Among the doctors and nurses who work on the train are fourth-year students who are specialising in certain health professions and doing their internships. The students are working under the supervision of doctors.
They work closely with the Department of Health in each province to ensure that patients who test positive for critical illnesses like cancer or HIV continue to receive help once the train has gone.