Eskom brings healthcare closer to N Cape communities

Monday, November 20, 2017

Eskom’s Development Foundation has brought healthcare within reach for communities in the Northern Cape through two health minibuses.

Led by the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) last week, Eskom brought basic healthcare to more than 2 000 community members and learners from schools in the surrounding areas.

The two mobile clinics are located at Rietrivier Primary School in Ritchie.

“The mobile health clinics will be dedicated to the learners in the area as well as other rural and remote communities within the province. With many of them having little or no access to healthcare facilities, the mobile units will provide them with basic medical services,” said the power utility.

Chief of Staff at the DPE, Mohammad Khalid Sayed, lauded the work of the Bophelong Mobile Health Clinic.

“Most of our people live in under-serviced areas far from major towns and services. In the long-term, it is the children in these communities who bear the brunt of inadequate or inaccessible health services. The solution the Eskom Development Foundation came up with was to bring healthcare services directly to these communities,” said Sayed.

The minibuses aim to improve the quality of life by delivering healthcare services to communities where Eskom operates. They provide dental and eye-care services, as well as general health check-ups.

The buses have been operating in Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal Free State and Limpopo giving medical assistance to communities for whom clinics and hospitals are too far.

“As the name ‘Bophelong’ suggests, the mobile health units are nothing short of being a ‘place of life’ for many. Over 432 locations have been visited to date benefiting more than 35 000 learners, with 1 000 pairs of spectacles having been dispensed free of charge to the recipients where required,” said Sayed.

The foundation aims to reach another 140 000 learners over the next four years and this will be made possible through the successful partnership with both the Department of Health and the Department of Basic Education.

Amenities on the buses 

The minibuses boast a dental booth, equipped with all the necessary equipment to screen, polish, extract and do fillings on teeth; primary healthcare consultation rooms to carry out general health check-ups, nutritional assessments, hearing assessments, gross and fine motor assessments, as well as immunisations.

There is also a visual care booth to assess eye sight, provide the necessary treatment and even provide spectacles where necessary.

“The challenges facing many of the communities we operate in are quite stark and we believe the gains our healthcare system has made can be furthered by our Bophelong mobile health service. Reaching the most vulnerable group in far-flung communities – the children – this service provides access to facilities they might otherwise struggle to reach,” said Eskom Northern Cape Operating Unit, General Manager, Klaas Gouws. –

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