TZANEEN, LIMPOPO – Nissan South Africa today handed over a mobile eye care clinic to the Transnet Foundation, which sponsors the Phelophepa health care train. The mobile eye care clinic is intended to enhance the train's current facilities, which offer health care to rural communities throughout South Africa.

Eye care (particularly in the prevention of blindness) is one of a range of health care disciplines, which include basic health and HIV/AIDS education; dental care; and counselling.  The majority of patients currently attending the eye care clinic are adults who present themselves for pre-screening and further testing on one of the train's four re-fraction rooms which are equipped with phoropters, projection charts and bio-microscopes, prior to the provision of prescription spectacles. School-going children undergo eyesight screening at their respective schools through a schools' outreach programme and those in need of corrective treatment are referred to the train's eye clinic whose workshop produces prescription spectacles. However, many do not have the resources to attend the eye clinic on the train and thus lose out on necessary treatment. Because the mobile eye clinic will provide all services on-site, it is anticipated that many more students will be assisted than at present.

Said Julio Panama, Managing Director of Nissan SA: "Nissan has responded to a health care need in rural communities. We are delighted to be partnering with the Transnet Foundation in an initiative, which we are confident will boost the numbers of learners receiving crucial eye care."  

Of the approximately 180 patients who currently register at the eye care clinic daily, only about 20 percent are school children, a fraction of those who require prescription spectacles.

"We are thrilled that Nissan has come on board, literally, with the provision of a mobile eye care clinic that will reach out to the youth in our country.  Eyesight should be monitored throughout one's life and the sooner we can identify and correct problems the better," said Eunice Maluleke, Chief Executive Officer of the Transnet Foundation, adding that the mobile eye care clinic brought Phelophepa's goal of providing quality health care to all South African citizens another step closer.

The mobile eye care clinic, worth approximately R 870 000, will provide at least 4 000 learners with prescription spectacles annually.

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