Experiential Learning Experience of Pharmacy Students on the Phelophepa Health Care Train

Ilse Truter


Phelophepa is a primary health care train visiting different rural areas of South Africa to deliver health care services to patients without access to health care. This paper reports on the experiential learning experience of pharmacy students at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University who worked on Phelophepa during 2008. A qualitative, chronological overview of the Phelophepa learning experience is given. The expectations of students are compared to their reflections afterwards. Outcomes are compared to the objectives set by performing a document analysis of the students’ scientific reports. The main theme that emerged was that Phelophepa was a “life-changing experience”. Students realized the role of the pharmacist in the health care team. Negative experiences included that students were taken out of their comfort zones and worked long hours. Phelophepa provides a necessary primary health care service to patients and an important educational role in preparing students for the pharmacy needs of rural South Africa.


Phelophepa, South Africa, primary health care, pharmacy, experiential learning, practical training

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