Rhodes University, South Africa
Sunitha Srinivas graduated with a Bachelor of Pharmacy in 1992 and began her career as a lecturer in India. After completing her Masters degree in Pharmacy, she returned to academics. She then accepted the position of Deputy Director, Drug Information Center in Karnataka State Pharmacy Council which soon led her to opportunities in the area of public health. After being trained at an intensive World Health Organisation international courses, she was nominated as the Technical Coordinator by the Delhi Society for Promotion of Rational Use of Drugs, to initiate and manage the provincial India- WHO Essential Medicines Program, Karnataka from 2000-2003. While managing the WHO program, she underwent further training in various international courses in relevant areas of rational use of medicines. As the first global recipient of the scholarship from the Pharmabridge program- an International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) sub-group initiative- she was trained by the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, Pharmacy department, Madison and St. Louis College of Pharmacy, Missouri, United States of America. She also worked briefly as a consultant on a World Bank project in Karnataka Health Systems Development Project in conducting the medicine indicator use study in the public sector hospitals in Karnataka .
The Countdown to 2015 Accountability Report for Maternal, Newborn and Child Survival identified 74 priority countries with a high level of the maternal mortality and South Africa featured on the list. The maternal mortality ratio is 140 per 100,000 live births in South Africa when compared to the global and regional average of 210 and 500 respectively. This is a concern because despite being a middle-income country, being less dependent on foreign aid, having a stable macro economy and allocating 8.8% of GDP for health, the maternal health issues are high in South Africa. This research focusses on maternal health in a resource constrained rural setting, with a special focus on Adolescent pregnancy. Compared with older women, adolescents have an increased risk of maternal death and also adolescent pregnancy negatively impacts development of young women physically, emotionally, socially, economically and with regards to their education. Hence adolescent targeted maternal health promotion strategies with the support of two Non-governmental organisations has been the focus of this research. As a community based participatory research project, this first time collaborative partnership since 2011 involves the Faculty of Pharmacy and Community Engagement Office of Rhodes University with a NGO. During the baseline phase of this study, ten focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted with 76 community stakeholders. Semi-structured interviews (SSIs) were conducted with two Sisters-in-Charge from each Primary Health Care (PHC) facility in the study setting. Data on the stock status of World Health Organization (WHO) identified lifesaving priority medicines for women’s health was also collected at both PHCs.