Public Health Medicine PhD Students Publish in HSRC Review
PhD students in Public Health Medicine, Ms Buyisile Chibi and Ms Neusa Torres-Tovela’s successful research collaboration has resulted in the publication of three articles on drug diversion and misuse, with further submissions currently under review. Their article on Antibiotic Use and Resistance in South Africa: The Need for Better Data, was recently published in the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) Review.
The article argues that the “post-antibiotic era”, in which antibiotics become useless, can be avoided. However, this will require comprehensive data on antibiotic use across the world, as well as surveillance systems to track the emergence and spread of drug resistant diseases. Prescription drug diversion and self-medication is currently understudied in resource-limited settings.
Torres-Tovela and Chibi believe that collaboration is a key driver of successful research. This not only enables mutual growth, but produces superior outputs, with significant impact on public health.
Chibi said they ‘initially met during workshops conducted by the Department of Public Health Medicine where students presented their research studies. Since then, we continued sharing knowledge which led to collaboration. Our research focuses on current global public health concerns.’
Torres-Tovela noted that, ‘Our findings would be of interest to policy-makers, decision makers, designers of health strategies and health providers as well as society at large. It will create awareness of the potential risks of drug misuse and the factors that facilitate this problem.’
Torres-Tovela’s research interests lie in Health Anthropology, health seeking behaviour and drug utilisation. Her PhD focuses on health seeking behaviour through self-medication with antibiotics in Maputo, Mozambique, a country with limited resources that is facing difficulties in controlling the prescription, dispensing and utilisation of antibiotics within the health sector. Despite the fact that, legally, a prescription is required for antibiotics, they are available over-the-counter and at informal markets. Her research will assist stakeholders to address the utilisation of antibiotics at community level.
Chibi’s study explores the factors that contribute to prescription drug diversion, misuse and abuse among people living with HIV in eThekwini Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal.
Words: Nombuso Dlamini