The Phelophepa Healthcare Train arrived in Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) Metro, Eastern Cape, a week ago and has already made a big impact with healthcare services.
Residents of the metro are enjoying the services the train offers, with many opting for it over their local clinic. People have access to general healthcare, screening, optometry, dental, family planning and cancer testing and psychological testing on the train. All they have to pay is R5 for a prescription, R10 for a dental procedure and R30 for spectacles. Consultations are free.
“It’s so special because it is cheaper and it is beneficial to us because it gives us loads of services,” says NMB resident, George Sebe.
People from all over Nelson Mandela Bay are flocking to the train and word spread quickly about the positive experience. Awareness about the coronavirus pandemic is also part of the package. Patients are furnished with a care pack that includes masks, sanitisers, multivitamins and sanitary wipes.
“It means a lot to us because we don’t have medical aid. It’s just like everybody else who works and stuff so really helps a lot. And it is very much cheaper to pay the fee,” says one resident.
“The reason why I came here to take my teeth out it’s because at the clinic it is always so full. We wake up very early to go to the clinic just for them to tell us that they’ve exceeded the number of patients for the day. So, I came here and I got help at 8 o’clock,” says another.
Phelophepa Healthcare Train making a difference to the poor:
The main idea behind the health train is to take primary healthcare to poor communities. It is a collaboration with the provincial health department.
“What we are planning to achieve with this is obviously to reach the area that we can’t reach which is the whole point of the train itself. So we are also hoping to resuscitate the appetite amongst the community to use our health services. Remember we are continuously advocating and marketing for our health service. It goes back to the approach we are doing with the testing. Yes there is a mobile testing site here. Yes we are testing but it is in also an agenda in terms of trying to resuscitate the need for people to be health conscious and engage with our health services,” says the director of primary healthcare in the NMB district, Sonia Lupondwana.
The train will depart for Komani in a week’s time.
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