RAF Drivers Wellness Programme


Forced to spend the majority of their lives on the roads, many truck, bus and taxi drivers do not have the time or money to undergo basic health checks. This not only endangers their lives, but the lives of all those on South Africa’s roads. In an effort to reduce the number of road accidents, the Department of Transport’s Road Accident Fund (RAF), along with partners, The Health Foundation, African Mobility Solutions and Guud, piloted The RAF Driver Wellness Programme – a mobile clinic, bringing free healthcare to drivers, on the job.

The challenge

Siphamandla Gumbi, RAF’s Senior Manager on Road Safety, attributes 20% of all road accidents in the country to  poor vision, lack of concentration, fatigue and dizzy spells. These are often the result of undiagnosed medical conditions, such as epilepsy, diabetes or high blood pressure, conditions that are relatively easy to identify and treat.

The active management of a driver’s chronic condition, or visual impairment, will radically improve their safety on the road, and yet due to access and unforgiving schedules, most of these drivers will not receive the help they need.

The Guud solution

Guud’s mobile solution brought this help to them, on the road. 

Meet Thato, one of the 44 000 truckers in South Africa. He spends an average of 10 months annually on the road. Thato suffered from constant migraines, which kept him overmedicated on painkillers.

In November 2022, Thato was offered a Guud mobility solution with the RAF Driver Wellness Programme. After  a comprehensive optometry and personal health assessment, at one of his truck stops, he was diagnosed with short-sightedness and immediately received glasses, on site. Now Thato’s headaches have been relieved, his driving vision corrected, resulting in a safer road for all.

Together with partners in the industry, Guud co-ordinated the design, manufacture and operation of a mobile health clinic, offering free healthcare services to truck, taxi and bus drivers on the job. With a dispensing nurse and an optometrist on board the mobile clinic can provide:

  • Personal Health Care (PHC) in the form of the monitoring of vitals, and testing for high blood pressure, anaemia and diabetes.
  • Optometry services, through eyesight tests and issuing free prescription glasses on site.

The pilot project was launched by the RAF in the Limpopo province (N1 Polokwane) on the  7 October 2022 and the bus has currently visited the following other provinces: KwaZulu-Natal (N2 Pongola), Northwest (N4 Rustenburg) and Mpumalanga (N4 Nelspruit).

Due to the success of the project more buses will be hitting the roads in 2023.

How does it work?

This mobile clinic bus can go almost anywhere. It has been built on a truck chassis giving it good ground clearance and helping it to reach remote and outlying areas with ease. 

It’s off the grid. All its power needs are met independently from an onboard generator, ensuring it is able to operate during power cuts. It also has a purpose-built water system with 120 litres of fresh water on board.

Always online, the bus features full internet connectivity. Ongoing reporting, feedback and communication is seamless, regardless of location.

The specialised RAF mobile unit is 12m in length, weighs 12 tons, and despite the complexity of its offering, only took three weeks to fit out internally and brand externally.

Guud’s mobility solutions create an extraordinary impact. Using mobility technology and innovation, Guud’s mobile solutions are positioned to creatively overcome many problems in service delivery.

For more information on our services, get in touch with us.

Strengthening health systems through mobility

The state of our healthcare system has caused our people to lose trust in the system. An overwhelming amount of evidence points to various challenges that negatively impact the quality of healthcare available to the communities. Despite countless quality improvement programs initiated, adapted, modified and then tested by the government, none have produced the required level of quality service delivery needed by the public.

An improvement in health care would mean easy access, fewer errors, reduced delays in care delivery, improvement in efficiency, and lower cost. Despite the government’s attempts indicating otherwise, this can be achievable through the use of mobility.

What is mobility?

Mobility is the use of mobile vehicles to deliver services to people. A mobile clinic is an example of this. Mobile clinics transport and carry medical equipment required to treat patients directly from the mobile and are used in remote parts of the country where patients may struggle to find adequate healthcare. Let us look at three main challenges plaguing our healthcare system and how mobility can help address these challenges.

The distribution of health professionals between private and public health sectors and within different provinces is unequal.

With mobile clinics, distance is no longer a barrier to quality healthcare. The government can send mobile clinics to areas with a shortage of staff or remote areas where the nearest hospital or clinic is a few kms away.

Lack of Doctors at clinics and variability in skill sets between rural and urban areas.

With mobile clinics and telemedicine (connecting patients to vital health care services through technology), specialist doctors can help nurses consult patients with conditions that require their expert opinion.

Poor-record keeping

Sometimes, patients’ folders go missing or lost and in worst-case scenarios, this creates complications that may lead to an incorrect diagnosis or, worse, the death of a patient. Equipping mobile units with the latest technology can help minimise this challenge, creating a mobile ecosystem where service delivery is the focus and mobility is the solution.

An added benefit of making use of mobile clinics is the cost-effectiveness. Investing in mobile units that can be dispatched to different parts of the country as needed instead of investing in brick-and-mortar facilities makes financial sense. In addition, the mobile units can be serviced quickly and as regularly as needed to avoid deterioration.

The World Health Oorganisation (WHO) defines overall health system outcomes as “improving health and health equity in ways that are responsive, financially fair and make the best, or most efficient, use of available resources.” Mobility does precisely this. By using Mobile clinics in conjunction with the latest technology, the government can:

  • Ensure that all have access to quality health care regardless of where they are located.  
  • Provide a cost-effective solution to the health system crisis. 
  • Give citizens the quality-of-service delivery they need.

As Guud we continue to strive to provide organisations with mobility healthcare solutions to better improve communities around South Africa, Africa and beyond. If you would like to chat to someone on our team, please click the chat button in the bottom right.

A mobile solution to government backlogs

  • Request time off from work.
  • The system is offline.
  • A lengthy line spanning down blocks of buildings.
  • A wait time of 2-3 hours.

This is the official starter pack for dealing with any governmental department. Unfortunately, at some point in our lives, we will have to either visit the Department of Home Affairs, the Traffic Department, or the Department of Labour. Some may even have the misfortune of having to see all three in one year.

COVID-19 played a role in worsening the backlogs experienced across all governmental administrative services resulting in the implementation of grace periods for expired documentation like visas, driver’s licenses, etc. Regardless of the challenges caused by COVID-19, governmental administration departments are notoriously understaffed and wrestle with an archaic IT system. There is also the problem of supply and demand, with a supply (number of governmental administration offices) that cannot meet the demand for services. Departments situated within cities often service people within that area as well as citizens from decentralised or rural areas, putting pressure on the departments.

To give credit where it is due, the government has tried to implement measures to help operate efficiently, however their attempts to solve backlogs often tackle just the most visible challenges, rather than the underlying causes. One of these measures is the eHome Affairs system & BABs (Branch Appointment Booking System). These solutions aim to reduce the queue lines however, it is virtually impossible to get a booking slot on eHome affairs for your passport and the BABs system was recently extended to only 56 Home Affairs offices, not to mention that these systems are only available to citizens who require select services.

It has become quite apparent that providing an efficient online service is not one of the government’s strengths. Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said that “the department also plans to introduce branches in shopping centres to ease the load on current offices” but brick-and-mortar facilities may not be the best solution.

Citizens have become accustomed to extraordinary fast and efficient service within the private sector, and through a private and public partnership this level of service can be accessible to the people via the deployment of mobile units.

Implementing mobile units for each department can aid in relieving the government’s immense backlog issues. Additional benefits include:

  • Flexibility – The efficiency of deploying mobile units where the demand for services is high (is an added advantage over brick-and-mortar facilities).
  • Efficiency – The Mobile can easily be equipped with the necessary technology to get the jobs done faster and efficiently.
  • Servicing citizens with “simple” services like obtaining an ID, passport, renewal of driver’s licences, etc. can allow these departments to focus on more complex services that do not take weeks to finalise.
  • Relief of overworked staff.

How would it work?

Mobile units would be deployed across the country both in underserved and central communities. This would provide citizens with various location options to get the services they need without having to travel great distances to do so. Working alongside government staff, the mobile units will be used to reduce waiting times, lengthy queues, and overall backlog experienced by these departments.

By making use of mobiles, the government will be able to efficiently help not only citizens from decentralised areas but relieve the demand for services in cities. This is a cost-effective solution that allows Governments to allocate mobiles as per the fluctuating demand of services – taking the services to the people.

Increasing the impact of mobile healthcare though telemedicine

Over the years, mobile clinics have revolutionised the healthcare industry, bringing much-needed healthcare services to individuals in decentralised areas. The convenience of mobile health clinics to be at any location ensures that no citizen is left without access to quality, affordable healthcare within their community.

Other impacts of mobile clinics in delivering healthcare include: 

  • Accessibility: Mobile clinics are improving access to care, serving uninsured individuals, and operating in low-income communities.
  • Comprehensive care: Mobile health clinics are as well-equipped as doctors’ consulting rooms and clinics. This means that patients receive comprehensive primary healthcare without having to seek out district hospitals.
  • Quality healthcare: In addition to being subject to the same regulations, compliance, and quality assurance as hospitals and clinics, mobile health units are further exposed to internal and external audits by the Department of Health and Office of The Health Ombudsman. These regulations ensure that patients receive the same level of quality care from professional medical practitioners at a low cost.

Telemedicine can play a huge role in further advancing the impact mobile clinics have. What is telehealth and what are the healthcare services that can be provided through telehealth? Telehealth or telemedicine connects patients to vital healthcare services using technology. Some examples of this are:

  • Enabling patients to communicate with healthcare providers via videoconferencing.
  • Sending and receiving messages from a healthcare provider via secure messaging or email.
  • Remote monitoring of vital signs to help healthcare providers stay informed on patient’s progress.

Many conditions ranging from chronic diseases to mental health can be monitored remotely through app-based solutions that connect patients to their providers.

If mobile clinics implement the use of telehealth, it will offer increased access to specialists (who would otherwise not be reached) located far away from patients residing in rural/remote areas, eradicating the need for travel, and time off from work. It would also address physician burnout by reducing clinicians’ drive times and allowing time to service more patients. Furthermore, in a virtual consultation, primary care providers within the mobile clinics can get input from specialists in other locations should they have questions about patient diagnosis or treatments, allowing them to give better care.

Most importantly, telehealth allows Healthcare providers to send patients valuable information to equip them to manage their health at home. This information includes notifications or reminders for rehabilitation exercises or to take medication, suggestions for the improvement of diet, mobility or stress management, detailed instructions on how to continue care at home, and encouragement to stick with the treatment plan.

Virtual care technology provided by telehealth saves patients time and money and reduces patient transfers, emergency room and urgent care centre visits. By combining telemedicine and mobility, we provide support to an exposed section of the population through sustainable and flexible solutions. It also allows clinicians to record patient data in real-time, increasing the number of patients they can treat and enabling them to treat patients across much wider areas.

Using both telemedicine and mobile health clinics has the potential to not only improve the quality of healthcare but make it easier and more efficient for people to get healthcare across South Africa.

The Need for Mobility for the Renewal of Driver’s Licenses

In South Africa, a driver’s license is the official document which authorizes the holder to drive a motor vehicle. Obtaining a driver’s license is a big step towards independence. Unfortunately, it must also be renewed every five years, which can be a frustrating process due to long queues and current backlogs where drivers are likely to experience delays.

As of January 2022, the Department of Transport has confirmed a backlog of almost 2.1 million licenses which have been affecting motorists and the number is increasing. Currently, motorists are frustrated by the long wait for their driver’s license renewals and have been dealing with a yearlong wait for their renewed licenses. This has forced most of them to apply for temporary licenses, a cheaper alternative that is only valid for 6 months.

Mobile license renewal offices could be one of the solutions for reducing long queues in the Traffic Department offices. Several Government institutions have been making use of mobile offices to take services directly to communities and fight the war against queues at their offices. These include the Department of LabourGauteng Department of Economic DevelopmentDepartment of Rural Development and Land Reform as well as the National Home Builders Registration Council, amongst others.

How would the mobile office work?

The mobile office is a technologically developed ‘bus’ that allows the community to do photocopies of their I.D, take the required amount of black-and-white ID photographs, complete eye tests and the option of receiving prescription glasses if needed, as well as receiving assistance with the application form for a new driver’s license. These offices also give motorists the opportunity to pay for their outstanding traffic fines. 

It is to be made a priority that the community receives their renewed licenses within the four to six weeks timeframe stipulated.

Currently, people travel long distances to get to town for renewing their driver’s license with little resources, this is because most traffic departments are in urban areas and even these are not able to deal with the current demand. Mobile units are the solution, and they will have the following benefits:

  • The service will benefit the elderly, people living with disabilities.
  • It will save people time and money spent on going to the Traffic Department for driver’s license renewal.
  • It will save the Department of Transport money, as they will not have to invest in expensive brick-and-mortar facilities.
  • It will offer flexibility to the Department of Transport, in a way that mobiles can quickly and easily be deployed to areas where demand is high.
  • This service will relieve the overworked staff and reduce the backlog in issuing the renewed licenses.

The mobile driver’s license solution will increase licensed vehicles and safety on South African roads. Investment in mobile units is the way to go if we want to improve service delivery in the country.

Health on Wheels

Access to quality healthcare is a fundamental human need, but unfortunately, many disadvantaged areas such as rural areas and townships have limited access to quality healthcare services. However, mobile healthcare has emerged as an innovative solution to bridge the gap and ensure that quality healthcare services are accessible and available to everyone, regardless of their location or socio-economic status.

Kaiser Permanente’s Early Innovations

One of the early pioneers of mobile healthcare is Kaiser Permanente, who introduced mobile healthcare clinics in the 1970s to serve disadvantaged communities. Today, mobile healthcare clinics are still operational in many parts of the United States, providing access to quality healthcare services to millions of people.

Impact of Mobile Clinics in South Africa

In South Africa, mobile healthcare has proved to be a valuable tool in dealing with the HIV pandemic, with over 7.7 million people living with HIV. The BroadReach project, which operated between 2016 and 2017, fast-tracked the testing and treatment of HIV using mobile health clinics. The project was a tremendous success, testing over 24,585 people in just seven months, with 50% of them being male, the highest male testing rate reported by an HIV project.

Similarly, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lung Institute deployed 10 TB mobile clinics in early 2021 provide rapid testing in poor communities, bridging the gap created by the pandemic and fast-tracking the diagnosis and treatment of TB.

Impact of Mobility on Healthcare Internationally

he impact of mobile healthcare is not limited to South Africa. The Mobile 1000 project, launched in India, aims to provide 1000 mobile healthcare vans that offer free primary healthcare to 25 million people in rural areas. The project has already reached 13.67 million people from 1560 villages across 15 states of India with just 205 mobiles.  

Additionally, the Mobile Health Map, a collaborative research community that evaluates the impact of mobile clinics, has found that mobile healthcare is cost-effective, does not compromise the quality of care provided, and helps to alleviate stress on the healthcare system. The Mobile Health Map has also reported a significant reduction in emergency room visits in areas where mobile clinics operate due to early screening and detection of potential high-risk health issues. 

In conclusion, mobile healthcare is an innovative solution that can revolutionize healthcare access and delivery in disadvantaged areas. With the advances in technology, such as telehealth, the benefits of mobile healthcare are expected to expand throughout South Africa and the world. At Guud, we are passionate about supporting life-changing, community-enhancing mobile healthcare projects and believe that these projects can have a significant impact on people’s lives.

Mobile Health Clinics – Changing the Way People Access Healthcare

Conversations about healthcare tend to focus mainly on issues of cost and quality. There’s debate about health insurance, health as a public service, and the standard of facilities. We quite frequently talk about the who and the what of healthcare, but we only very rarely discuss the where. For those living in urban areas, and particularly in wealthier districts, access to high-quality healthcare facilities is a given. In a nice, well-developed city neighbourhood, a good hospital is as much of a certainty as having a nearby police station or firehouse is. Comprehensive, quality care is almost always only a few minutes’ drive away. This is however unfortunately not how everyone lives. For much of the world’s population, the reality is starkly different.

In rural communities, small towns and sparsely populated, isolated regions, the nearest hospital could be hours, or even days away. By their nature, large medical facilities, which incorporate a full range of specialist services, need high population density. Without the economies of scale that urban environments provide, these sorts of places are not financially sustainable. This is where mobile health comes in. Population density is not a problem for vehicular facilities. They go to where the people are, covering as many, or as few, locations as needed.

Mobile health facilities do not only serve out of the way places though. Even in the heart of urban centres, there are people who do not have good healthcare access. People living in informal settlements, and those in impoverished, underserved communities, commonly do not have the sort of comprehensive infrastructure that those in more developed city neighbourhoods have. They may have to travel a long way to find care – particularly if the only nearby options are the expensive, private healthcare facilities.

In both sorts of communities, where brick and mortar facilities either cannot reach, or cannot survive, vehicle-based facilities are essential. In recent years however, mobile health solutions have been creating additional opportunities. Advancements in technology and the miniaturisation of medical equipment has made it possible to do far more with a facility on wheels than ever before. In the past, only basic primary and preventative care could reliably be provided from a mobile platform, but now, mobile facilities can do virtually anything their brick-and-mortar counterparts can – more if you count the fact they can move around.

So today, mobile health facilities serve people in many environments. They travel to care facilities for routine checks, and private homes for x-rays and dialysis. There are even mobile MRI scanners. Vehicular healthcare solutions are able to provide access to every type of care needed, wherever it is needed. Convenient, flexible, and extensible, they are transforming the way healthcare networks operate. Brick and mortar hospitals and clinics cannot scale to meet increased demand. They cannot be moved to respond to epidemics and disasters. They cannot cost-effectively meet the healthcare needs of people outside of established, densely populated urban areas. And they cannot visit people at their homes. Mobile facilities can.