By Dr Nomafrench Mbombo and Minister Donald Grant,
Western Cape Ministry of Health and Ministry of Transport and Public Works:
Today, Minister Mbombo and Minister Grant welcomed the Phelophepa Health train to the Western Cape.
The train’s first stop is at De Doorns where it will be stationed until 21 August 2014.
The Phelophepa Health Care Train has reached 23.5 million people in South Africa since its roll out in 1994. The health-care services provided from the train are largely free of charge or offered at an exceptionally low cost to communities in rural areas. The services include a health clinic, dental clinic, eye clinic, psychology clinic and cancer screening services.
The Phelophepa Health Care Trains comprise two locomotives that use existing rail infrastructure to deliver vital healthcare services to South Africans in remote, rural areas who would otherwise not have access to a doctor or be aware of any health problems they may or may not have.
The trains travel for 35 to 36 weeks each year visiting various communities in rural areas each week. The main objective of the Phelophepa Healthcare Trains is prevention and early detection of medical conditions, as well as screening and education by making people aware of the importance of looking after their own health. The trains either provide services in communities where these currently do not exist, or enhance existing health services provided by government. The services offered are aligned with government’s overall development strategy.
The Phelophepa Healthcare Trains are the only primary healthcare trains in the world and recognised as one of the more innovative designs in primary healthcare in South Africa and globally.
The Western Cape Government fully supports this service provided by the Transnet foundation. It provides communities with much needed healthcare assistance as well as alleviating the pressures on the already overburdened healthcare facilities.
We are especially grateful for the eye clinic service available on the train, as this helps clear the backlog in the public health system.
“Partnerships are vital to ensure that each citizen gets access to quality healthcare services. This train is a beacon of hope to many, and that is why the WCG fully supports this project. We are looking forward to building a good working relationships with the foundation in an attempt to extend these services to more areas in the Western Cape where it is much needed,” said Minister Mbombo.
“We will continue to support innovation in the delivery of essential services to the people of this province. This initiative further highlights the importance of rail in any country, and the extended benefits that can be derived from existing rail infrastructure. We have long maintained that an reinvestment in rail is crucial for the economy of the Western Cape, but the Phelophepha train has shown that such an investment will also go a long way to improving healthcare and overall wellness as well. We wish the Phelophepa train well as it traverses the province on its journey towards helping thousands of people improve their quality of life,” added Minister Grant.
The train will be visiting towns in the Western Cape as follows:
De Doorns: Mon 17 – Friday 21 August
Oudtshoorn: Mon 24 – Friday 28 August
George: Mon 31 August- Friday 4 September
Swellendam: Mon 7 September- Friday 11 September
Ashton: Mon 14 – Friday 18 September
Saldanha: Mon 21- Friday 25 September AND Mon 28 September- Friday 2 October