Committed to Community Health
‘Your PhD should not be a race to obtain another qualification,’ says Dr Sham Moodley.
‘It must be seen as a journey to obtain new levels of expertise in areas that have challenged you before, to contribute to societal needs and to be able to share this knowledge and encourage others with the intention of improving the country,’ he adds.
The community pharmacist graduated with a PhD in Pharmacy following a study titled, Evaluating the impact of the change in regulations related to Medicine Pricing and Pharmacy Ownership in the Private Pharmaceutical Sector of South Africa under the supervision of internationally renowned expert in the field, Professor Fatima Suleman.
‘I am grateful to my supervisor for her amazing tutorship, her excellent guidance and mostly for her dedicated support through my PhD.’
He said that ‘for me, UKZN represents an important part of our struggle for democracy, contributing to my own growth and development as an individual. I am a proud holder of my undergraduate Pharmacy degree and now my PhD from UKZN.’
The first part of Moodley’s study presented two published papers that evaluated a basket of 50 originator medicines and their available generics using the World Health Organization (WHO)/Health Action International (HAI) methodology.
Data was obtained from community pharmacy and pharmacy software vendors and subjected to an Interrupted Time Series (ITS) evaluation, where the changes in slope and levels of the medicines before and after the regulations were obtained.
The second part was presented in a third published paper that examined the opening, transfer, and closing of all pharmaceutical licenses as per the South African Pharmacy Council register prior to the changes in regulation and post-regulations up to 2014.
‘Each license was tracked over time and mapped at a municipal and district level. The investigation further allowed for a population overlay to determine changes in access, ownership categories, and urban-rural access over time, and in this way, examined the impact of the change in policy and whether its intended outcomes were achieved,’ explained Moodley. The study concluded that the change in regulation did not result in increased access to pharmacies in previously disadvantaged and rural areas. Ownership also shifted from independent pharmacists to corporate entities. Other incentives and policies are thus required to improve access in disadvantaged areas.
Using interrupted time series methodology, the research confirmed that substantial price reductions were achieved through the Single Exit Price regulations.
Moodley said the study addressed the gap in research and evidence on the policy on the deregulation of pharmacy ownership. ‘It offers lessons to low- and middle-income countries, especially those on the African continent.’
As a community pharmacist, Moodley has a deep interest in public health, ‘I continue to serve in the community, which I have served for 27 years, on a daily basis with the hope of better managing my patients’ healthcare needs.
‘My interest is at a policy level around access and affordability of healthcare. It will be great to be able to contribute more as we move into the design of our own Universal Healthcare Coverage,’ he said.
Moodley has been married to an equally dedicated professional, Tammy Moodley for 30 years and they have four children, Sandrini, who is planning a PhD in Environmental Science after completing her masters at UKZN; Kimantha a Medical doctor in the public sector; Sanushin, an engineer at Vodacom; and Kyrin who is in third-year at Wits University doing accounting science.
Words: Nombuso Dlamini