Mobile Clinics have been introduced by City of Tshwane at Mabopane taxi rank for taxi drivers to get help nearby. Picture: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency (ANA)
Pretoria - The City of Tshwane has begun providing mobile clinics at taxi ranks.

MMC for Roads and Transport Sheila Senkubuge addressed taxi operators in Mabopane on the project.

The award-winning MMC said taxi operators spent most or almost all of their time on the roads and did not have the time to visit clinics.

Often, she said, they did not not know enough about their health as they barely had time to do health checks.

Senkubuge was joined by numerous mobile healthcare providers, including some from Wits University and the Tshwane University of Technology.

Healthcare workers set up stalls and tents to attend to taxi operators and their employers, who seized the opportunity..

Susan Mathikhi, clinical co-ordinator at Tshwane University of Technology’s Adelaide Tambo School of Nursing Science, encouraged taxi operators to take advantage of such an opportunity.

She said unlike at clinics, there would be no queues at the mobile units. Mathikhi said that through her research for a Masters degree titled “Taxi drivers' views on occupational health risks concomitant with their health in the City of Tshwane”, she learned that a lot of taxi operators were not keen to go to clinics.

This was because sitting in queues at clinics would cost them a lot of money.

Senkubuge emphasised that the exercise would not be a once-off event and that all taxi ranks would be visited by healthcare workers at some point.

Bongani Makhonjwa said: “As a taxi driver this is a very good thing. Often we get chased away from clinics for trying to skip the queue.

“We are told that we are not special and because of that we end up not going there. I think they should provide this service to every taxi rank in South Africa.”

Chairman of the Soshanguve Taxi Owners Association Mckeed Mogale said: “We are very proud and we welcome such an initiative by the City.

“You won’t believe me if I tell you that just two weeks ago I lost a taxi driver who died from high blood pressure just after being diagnosed.

“Had such a service been available then, that wouldn’t have happened as he would have known he had high blood pressure much sooner.”

Pretoria News