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The university’s School of Clinical Care Sciences runs its own health truck, called Zanempilo, which bears some similarities to the train mod- el, although on a much smaller scale.

Zanempilo, which in Xhosa means “bringing health to the people”, is a mobile clinic that has consulting rooms and a mini-pharmacy, and sees about 40 people a day.

Like the Phelophepa train, Zanempilo, brings medical services to people who may not otherwise be able to access public healthcare facilities. It is estimated that for every five people who go to a clinic in the Eastern Cape, there are another 45 who do not.

Zanempilo travels to different destinations each day, from taxi ranks, where it offers a free service to taxi drivers, including free tests for HIV, TB and blood pressure as well as counselling or referrals for HIV, substance abuse or emotional issues, to informal settlements kilo- metres away from the nearest clinic.

Final-year and postgraduate students in nursing science, radiography, emergency medical care, dietetics  and  pharmacy  serve  on Zanempilo, which is managed by full-time advanced primary health- care professional nurse, Sister Shanene Olivera.

Working alongside Olivera is Sifundo Sonti, who has a qualification in basic life support. He drives and maintains the mobile clinic and is the data capturer.

Olivera and Sonti are the backbone of Zanempilo, with doctors and other health sciences staff making contributions.

“Working in our communities is the best kind of teaching base for our senior students, who consult under the direct supervision of lecturers and clinical mentors,” Olivera said. Each time Zanempilo visits a community, the team runs a public health campaign,” said head of the School of Clinical Care Sciences and deputy dean of health sciences, Prof Dalena van Rooyen.

“We are working towards a much more inter-professional, engaged practice,” she said. “We are strengthening our partnerships with the Department of Health, sea rescue, police and emergency services – it is all about sharing skills and strengths and working together for the benefit of our com- munities,” Van Rooyen said.

Adapted from an article by Heather Dugmore

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