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Transnet to invest R80m in a second Phelophepa healthcare train

South African transport utility Transnet has announced that it will invest R80-mil-lion in a second healthcare ser-vice train as part of its corporate responsibility programme. The group will spend some R200-million in 2010/11 on corporate social investment programmes.

The new train, to be called the Phelophepa II, will run together with the successful first Phelophepa train, which was started in 1994, to increase the healthcare service facility’s capacity. The initial train service provides dental, eye and psychiatric care to 45 000 poor South Africans yearly.

Transnet spokesperson Thandi Mlangeni says that the two trains will run for 35 weeks a year in eight of the nine provinces. Gauteng is excluded from this service, which focuses on pro- viding primary healthcare for rural parts of the country.

The target is to register 43 750 patients each year at the on-board clinics and to reach 117 360 adults and learners with health, oral and vision screening programmes, basic health education programmes and community counselling workshops.

Transnet has allocated R80-mil- lion of its R175-million corporate social investment (CSI) funding to the construction of the new train, which will be funded in partnership with pharmaceuticals and diagnostic company Roche.

The new train will have minor changes in the technical layout and design, but Mlangeni says that Phelophepa I has been continuously upgraded and the standard of the second version will be aligned with the successful model introduced in the first train.

Phelophepa I is a 600-t train with 18 coaches. Transnet pays for 75% of the yearly expenses for the train and the remaining 25% is provided by partners and sponsors of the initiative.

“The intention is to replicate the highly successful model we have used over the years in Phelophepa I. The second train will significantly increase both the footprint and frequency of the healthcare services offered to patients,” Transnet acting CEO Chris Wells said.

Phelophepa I is also a training tool for South African and international medical students. The medical services offered on the train are dental care, eye care, primary healthcare, including a pharmacy, and psychiatric care.

Roche is involved in primary healthcare and in the pharmacy and Colgate Palmolive in the dental clinic. Both companies are founding members of the initiative and have been with Phelophepa I since it started operating.

Transnet reports that, last year, Phelophepa I was the first South African CSI initiative to receive the United Nations public service award for its excellence in public service delivery.

Construction of Phelophepa II will begin in Salt River, in the Western Cape, in May and will be done by Transnet Rail Engineer- ing.

By: Lindsey Berry for engineeringnews

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