Covid-19 screening, testing on track thanks to Transnet health train

KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala on board the Transnet Phelophepa train which will boost Covid-19 screening and testing in eThekwini for the next two weeks.
KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala on board the Transnet Phelophepa train which will boost Covid-19 screening and testing in eThekwini for the next two weeks.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

The Transnet Phelophepa health-care train will not only boost Covid-19 screening and testing but will also provide assistance in psychology, general health, dental and eye care, as well as a pharmacy.

Transnet in partnership with the Solidarity Fund handed over the mobile clinic to the department of health in KwaZulu-Natal on Tuesday.

The clinic will provide health services in Phoenix, Empangeni, Ulundi, Pietermaritzburg and Ugu over the next two weeks.

Dr Mathapelo Mashupu, the acting train manager, said the clinic will go around the province to render care to the most needy. “These are communities that are normally under-resourced and severely burdened with disease,” she said.

The train is made up of 19 coaches, each about 20m long. Staff can see about 1,500 people a day in various cubicles — some with beds and others with chairs, where patients will be tested.

“Our response plan will be screening, with the help of nurses and medical personnel from the SANDF. We will ensure that every station we visit, we reach out to all the people to ensure that everybody knows their status on Covid-19,” added Mashupu.

KZN health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu said the initiative is an indication of the government's new approach to health care during the pandemic.

“We have been correctly criticised that the moment we were hit with this pandemic it seemed as if we all believed that other illnesses did not exist any more, therefore our focus was just on Covid-19 ... However, we should start acclimatising to the new normal and that says we are going to deal with Covid-19 together with other illnesses. This train will be providing those services,” she said.

“As we prepare to move to different levels of lockdown, it means the services we are providing must also be a reflection of that.” 


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