The Phelophepa Mission

“Our vision, to bring hope, empowerment and health equity to the poor in the rural communities of South Africa”

The Phelophepa History

The Phelophepa Health Care Train, established in 1994, initially operated with only three eye clinic coaches. By 1995, recognizing the need for a wider primary health care base it expanded services to include more comprehensive optometry, dental and psychological care.

Now in its 18th year, the Phelophepa has grown from three cars to an impressive 18-car train delivering primary health care, education and outreach programs including: HIV/AIDS education. Additional services include training community volunteers in basic healthcare and screening/educating local schoolchildren.

This cause has won global recognition for the innovative way in which it brings the best of modern medicine to rural areas in South Africa and how it forms an integral part of local community structures, supplementing or supporting existing facilities.


The two Phelophepa Trains utilize South Africa’s rail infrastructure and a collaborative effort has sprung up that brings together the expertise and services of various government, social and medical organizations to address important health care issues.

Phelophepa provides a simple, one-stop service for its patients everything a traveling hospital requires and the health care education outreach, ensures continued care once the train has departed.

“The Train is a one-stop-service for patents & healthcare education”


Operating and maintaining the 18 coaches of the Phelophepa trains on a daily basis requires a special fabric of committed and professional staff. They work to provide a range of medical care for South Africans who would otherwise not have access to a doctor.

600 tons
Weight of train

30,888 gallons
of diesel/fuel are used each year

375,694 miles
have been traveled by the train

14173.2 feet
is the train lengths

patients have been treated in the various clinics on board the train

7,000 students
have done voluntary work on the train.

595,961 children
have been screened and educated.

6,679 volunteers
have completed our 5-day CCETSA sponsored Basic Health Education Program

14.5 million
individuals have been reached through our school screening; health education and counseling workshops outreach programs

1,448 Edu-Clinic volunteers
have successfully completed the Home Based Care program offered by The Order of St John in partnership with Phelophepa Train

150,221 individuals
have been reached in the Eastern Cape with the Canon Collins Education Trust of Southern Africa sponsorships.

45, 000 patients
in the most remote and rural areas in the country, register at the train for treatment in the various clinics (annually)

60,000 meals
are prepared on board the train for staff and students

$13,200 spent
Every week in the local village on food purchases

$5,500 spent
every week – paid out in wages to local temporary employees

$292, 000 spent
on the eye clinic clinic yearly