The Free State health department has distributed 35 vehicles for use by community health workers and caregivers across the province.
Speaking at the official handover of the five-seater vehicles in Bloemfontein on Tuesday, health MEC Benny Malakoane said the vehicles would make easier the work of the volunteers who assist the sick and the vulnerable.
“They were walking long distances on foot, in the sun and in the rain, just to render a service, hence we moved in to assist,” Malakoane said.
“These vehicles were not bought but leased from the government garage and the department will be paying close to R3-million for them in a year.”
There are 1 439 community health workers and caregivers operating in the province’s Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality and district municipalities of Fezile Dabi, Thabo Mofutsanyana, Lejweleputswa and Xhariep.
Malakoane said his office is appreciative of the work carried out by the community health workers and caregivers as they, among other things, assist in terms of health profiles of households in the areas where they operate.
They also assist monitoring patients with chronic ailments to ensure they take their medication correctly and regularly.
Present to witness the handover of the vehicles was Mangaung deputy mayor Connie Rampai as well as members of the Provincial Council on Aids and health department officials.
All the community health worker organisations chosen to benefit from this programme were assembled at the health department’s Bophelo House headquarters where they were going to be trained on the proper use of the vehicles.
PAC head Tefo Tapi welcomed the development which he noted would help improve access to healthcare.
“This says to us the department of health in the Free State cares about the plight of the sick and the vulnerable, and will go to all lengths possible to make the work of our dedicated caregivers easier,” he said.