Specialist Physician’s Doctoral Work Earns Gold Award
UKZN’s Dr Somasundram Pillay won first prize in the category of Outstanding Achievement at the 2017 Minister of Health Services Awards (MASEA) for innovation in his PhD work on Improved Regional Diabetes Care.
On top of this achievement, Pillay was runner-up in the 2017 Board of Health Funders (BHF) Titanium Awards announced in July.
‘Both the MASEA and BHF Titanium Awards are highly sought after. It is exciting to receive recognition for my work in improving diabetes care in resource-limited settings,’ said Pillay.
Pillay, who is a Specialist Physician and Head of Blue Firm Internal Medicine at Edendale Hospital, hopes his successful blueprint for improving overall diabetes care will be rolled out in clinics in KwaZulu-Natal and the rest of the country. He has served in the health sector for about 20 years with his passion being to help improve diabetes care in developing countries. He enjoys being able to make a difference in the lives of public care patients and assist in decreasing the burden diabetes puts on them and their families.
Diabetes Mellitus (DM) remains an ever-present threat both to patients and the economies of countries.
‘We know from studies that HIV infection and antiretrovirals increase the risk of developing DM which increases the risk of developing TB. This vicious cycle needs to be broken - better diabetes control provides hope in that area,’ said Pillay.
‘We have also found that the majority of DM patients in KwaZulu-Natal are diagnosed and have treatment at their local clinic and at district level. Emphasis needs to be placed at this level on the education of clinicians and nurses education in the management of DM.’
Pillay says that his research project started in 2012. ‘My innovation has been shown to improve overall diabetes care at resource-limited diabetes clinic level. This improved diabetes control will lead to decreased complications and in turn to decreased economic costs for the country. It improves both service delivery to the individual patient and decreases economic drain on the country.’
Words by: Lihle Sosibo