Investing the future

In many South African rural communities, there is often only a single doctor servicing the healthcare needs of up to 5 000 people. To address this critical need, the Transnet Foundation launched the Phelophepa Health Trains in 1994. These two trains are the first primary healthcare providers of their kind in the world; they use the existing rail network to make quality medical care an accessible reality for many in the remote communities across the country.

The name Phelophepa combines elements of Sotho and Tswana and means “good, clean health”. Each “miracle train” has 18 coaches and carries the most modern medical equipment.

The trains travel for 35 to 36 weeks each year (from January to September), visiting a different rural community every week. The main objective is prevention and early detection of medical conditions as well as screening and education. More than 40 permanent staff and numerous volunteers work on the trains.

Putting healthcare on track

Advance teams of community social mobilisers are sent out at least two months before the trains’ arrival to alert the community of when the trains will be in town, and to inform people about the availability of screening.

The health-based activities offered by the trains are two-fold — providing on-board health services through its five clinics, and outreach programmes that take their services to the wider community. The latter provides screening and educational services to schools, early childhood development centres, institutions for older or frail persons, and prisons within a 70km radius of the railway stations.

As the project custodian, Transnet Foundation is the key financial sponsor. Other sponsors provide voluntary support through financial and other contributions as part of private-public-civil society partnership model. Training institutions provide the human capacity to support the healthcare and humanities professionals employed on each train.

Transnet Foundation further supports the Phelophepa team by handling strategic planning, administrative logistics, financial management, dissemination of health sector data, and marketing and communications.

Joint operations between Transnet Engineering and Freight Rail divisions ensure that the trains are maintained and safely hauled across the country.


Hlophe complaint is an eerie echo

But the new complaint against the Western Cape judge president is also unprecedented

Mabuza contract grows by R10m

Eskom’s negotiators in a R100-million maintenance contract came back with a proposal to push up the costs

‘There were no marks on his neck’, Neil Aggett inquest...

The trade unionist’s partner at the time he was detained at John Vorster Square says she now believes his death was not a suicide

Press Releases

Boosting safety for cargo and drivers

The use of a telematics system for fleet vehicles has proved to be an important tool in helping to drive down costs and improve efficiency, says MiX Telematics Africa.

Silencing the guns and firearms amnesty

Silencing the guns and firearms amnesty

Gender-based violence is an affront to our humanity

Gender-based violence is an affront to our humanity

UK-Africa investment summit 2020: Think Africa Invest SA

UK-Africa investment summit 2020: Think Africa Invest SA

MTN unveils TikTok bundles

Customised MTN TikTok data bundles are available to all prepaid customers on *136*2#.

Marketers need to reinvent themselves

Marketing is an exciting discipline, offering the perfect fit for individuals who are equally interested in business, human dynamics and strategic thinking. But the...

Upskill yourself to land your dream job in 2020

If you received admission to an IIE Higher Certificate qualification, once you have graduated, you can articulate to an IIE Diploma and then IIE Bachelor's degree at IIE Rosebank College.

South Africans unsure of what to expect in 2020

Almost half (49%) of South Africans, 15 years and older, agree or strongly agree that they view 2020 with optimism.