The Solidarity Fund has partnered with the Transnet Foundation and the National Health Laboratory Service to increase Covid-19 testing in underserviced areas in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
Both provinces have received two Transnet healthcare trains that will be converted into mobile Covid-19 testing stations. The partnership will also supply testing kits and personal protective equipment to frontline healthcare staff on Phelophepa I and II trains, chairman of the Solidarity Fund Gloria Serobe said in a statement.
She said: “As the Solidarity Fund we are particularly grateful of the spirit and care in which this cooperation with Transnet was formed to make it work for these two provinces. We also salute our medical professionals for the work that they do in protecting all South Africans from the threat of the coronavirus.
“This partnership is unity in action, with the Solidarity Fund playing a co-ordinating role with multiple stakeholders and making real interventions to support government efforts to prevent the spread of Covid-19.”
The Phelophepa trains have been in service since 1994 and have provided basic medical help and healthcare education to vulnerable communities across the country. Each train has a permanent staff of 22 healthcare professionals, including nurses and healthcare educators.
Transnet group CEO Portia Derby said: “The Phelophepa trains are a well-known partner of rural communities in the provision of primary health services. It is a real privilege for us to now include Covid-19 testing at this critical time. We have been, and always will be, there for our people.”
R250 million has been approved to fund 400,000 Covid-19 testing kits to support increased testing for the deadly virus across the country.
Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane said: “This critical testing intervention comes at a time when we need it most. It will go a long way in mitigating development fault lines exposed by this novel Covid-19 and will help the provinces ramp up their massive screening and testing programmes, especially in the rural parts of these provinces. ”
(Compiled by Sandisiwe Mbhele)