A train that carries a variety of clinics in its coaches is set to assist KwaZulu-Natal in its fight against Covid-19, officials said on Tuesday.
The Transnet-Phelophepa healthcare train clinic will see an increase in testing capacity for the virus in the province.
“We recognise the importance of the Covid-19 impact and we knew that with this asset, we could make the necessary impact,” Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu said on Tuesday.
She added the train would be stationed in KwaZulu-Natal for a number of weeks.
“We will use it in five different districts,” Simelane-Zulu said.
The train’s first stop will be in Phoenix, followed by the iLembe, King Cetshwayo and Ugu districts as well as Ulundi in Zululand.
“The train will spend two weeks in each area,” she said.
How can the train help?
Transnet acting train manager Dr Mathapelo Mashaphu said the facility was 440m long with 19 coaches which carried five clinics. These include the psychology, dental, general health, eyecare and pharmacy clinics.
“This is a train that will traverse the rails of SA covering all provinces rendering primary healthcare facilities to the most needy. These are communities that are normally very under-resourced,” Mashaphu added.
She said many of the areas they would visit had already suffered strain during normal conditions.
“Now, they are severely over-burdened with [Covid-19] disease.
“Suddenly, this outbreak came upon us. As Transnet, we were mandated to come around joining the challenge of flattening the curve.”
Mashaphu said it was important for the most vulnerable to be served.
“Going forward, we will ensure people who deserve this service will actually get it.”