Limpopo – “I arrived at the train station at 6.00am and the place was already packed so I couldn’t be assisted,” said Josephina Hlongwane (60) from Mankweng Village.
She was at the station so she could see professionals on the Phelophepa Healthcare Train. She decided to sleep there so she could be treated. “I am number 12 now so I think at around 10.00am tomorrow I [can go] home.”
But train officials have advised people not to sleep at the station.
Phelophepa official, Malebo Mokone said: “People who are coming to Phelophepa Healthcare Train, are people who need of primary health services.”
“We don’t encourage our elders or community members to come and sleep at the train station. We understand that they want services and to be the first [in the] queue but it is winter. People should [rather] come as early as possible.”
Mokone said if they don’t get seen on the same day, they will be referred to come another day.
“If you seek services either from our health care, eye care, dental or psychology clinic, visit Tzaneen Station but let’s take care of ourselves whilst doing that,” she said.
Mokone advised that patients should also make use of public health care institutions throughout the year to avoid long queues at the Phelophepa train.
“Phelophepa comes to the province to enhance services that already exist. We have our hospitals and clinics that offer more or less same services that you find on Phelophepa,” she said.
Yet Hlongwane said she has been put on the waiting list for nearly a year after visiting Letaba Hospital. “I have a problem with my eyes, I went to consult at Letaba and I have since been put on a waiting list to be transferred to Mankweng Hospital and it’s nearly a year now.”
Christina Marhidili (45) from Mariveni Village said: “I’m came here straight from work and arrived at around 6.00pm. I came here for [an] eye test and glasses. The service is cheap and the service is fast because they help you instantly.”
Phelophepa takes various primary health care services to rural communities. These include an eye clinic, a dental clinic, health education, cancer and diabetes edu-care at affordable prices.
Affectionately dubbed the Train of Hope, Phelophepa will be in Tzaneen from June 24 to July 5.