THERE was a time when people from villages near Postmasburg in the Northern Cape had to travel, sometimes on foot, about 30 kilometres to get to a clinic.

And when they got there, they had to wait in long queues to see a doctor or nurse.

When patients needed to be transferred to hospital it was a journey of about 200 kilometres.

But those days are gone.

The arrival of Anglo American’s Kolomela Mine in Postmasburg brought not only opportunities for the local people, but also healthcare support.

In line with the mine’s social development strategy, it conducted a health survey, which was followed by a collaboration with the department of health to provide the villages with mobile clinics.

Then Kolomela mine and the department of health provided the villages with mobile clinics, which meant people could get medical attention fast.

Keaobaka Matilo of Kolomela Mine told Daily Sun the project brought relief to patients and also created jobs as they employed people who drove the mobile clinics as well as nurses to help patients.

As indicated by the survey, the next step was to upgrade the clinic in Postmasburg, which continues to provide primary health services.

Keaobaka said the clinic is classified as an ideal facility by the department of health.

“The clinic, which has been split from the hospital, has six consulting rooms, a pharmacy, a reception area and a medication storage area,” he said.

“We are now focusing on upgrading the hospital itself. We prioritised the paediatric ward, the theatre and the casualty section.

“The casualty section did not have enough beds for patients but that has also been sorted out,” he said.

Keaobaka said they constructed living units for doctors as well.

“The units are occupied by four doctors where they only had two or even one doctors before.”

Keaobaka said they do an impact assessment every three years and realised there are many social problems in the community.

“We came up with several interventions, including establishing trauma and drug abuse centres. We partnered with two NGOs to address social problems at those centres.

“It was critical for us to make sure we didn’t send victims from one centre to another. That is why we call this a medical complex, so they get all the service in the one place.”

For them it wasn’t about the money.

“We are all about touching and changing lives,” he said.

They’ve invested over R40 million in the project in Postmasburg.

“We have created hundreds of jobs. That makes me sleep well at night,” he said.