Clinic in train is a hit

2015-02-11 00:00

THE Pietermaritzburg railway station has become a hub of activity as ­residents pour in to receive primary healthcare services on the Transnet Phelophepa Healthcare train.

The train started operating on Monday and will serve the city for two weeks.

Among those who visited the clinic on wheels yesterday was Sibongile Mbatha (64) from Imbali, who said she had various ailments such as her ­eyesight, high blood pressure and sugar diabetes.

Lindelani Mwelase (62) of Snathing, who came in for dental care and her ­eyesight, said the service was ­impressive and much faster than the clinics she is used to.

“My teeth were cleaned in less than an hour of my arrival. I didn’t have to wait in long queues, and the nurses are patient through the process,” she said.

Sebenzile Mdlalose (75) of Imbali learnt that the train was in town as she stood in a queue at Northdale Hospital. She travelled to town for the quick and easy services offered by Phelophepa.

Train manager and professional nurse Anna Mokwena said the train consists of 18 coaches, and includes clinic facilities, accommodation, catering and a dining car.

“We’ve been receiving a fair number of patients, but we still encourage more residents to come and use the services,” she said.

Pharmacist Elizabeth Mpya of ­Johannesburg said she has been working on the train for 11 years.

“I miss my family at times, but they understand that I’m out here putting food on the table for them and serving the country,” she said.

Optometrist Bheki Mendlula said there were differences between the Phelophepa train and community ­clinics.

“The train is more fulfilling because it’s a same-day service, where you come and collect all your required prescriptions, while some of the services have to be ordered in a hospital or clinic. We have almost all the equipment needed for the various departments,” he said.

University of Johannesburg fourth-year optometry student Elizma van Rooyen said the experience was tiring, especially with the heat in Pietermaritzburg and the language barrier, but it was also rewarding to serve a community in need.

“I’ve learnt to work faster, patiently and accurately. My goal is to gain more experience,” she said.

Mokwena said Phelophepa, which is in the city until February 20, offered check-ups for free, with some services requiring a minimal fee.

The train opens at 7.30 am and only closes when the last patient registered for the day has been treated.


Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.