Meet Nirvana Ramlall
Tell us a bit about yourself
My start at Roche was an exciting adventure. I was on a temporary assignment through a recruitment agent and managed to swiftly work my way through various tasks given to me.
Prior to starting with Roche, I had no Pharma background or experience and being in the Real Estate business for a while, I was a bit skeptical about joining the company.
To my good fortune the then Head of Market Access saw potential in me and offered me a permanent position as Solutions Administrator for Market Access, where I was dealing with medical aids on patients declines and preparing and submitting reimbursement motivations for the Renal portfolios. That was effectively the start of my successful career with Roche which was in June 2006.
I have since grown as an employee, progressed through various roles, made friends, said goodbyes and yet remain as excited as I was the day I joined.
In which Roche location do you currently work and what can you tell us about that location as a work environment?
I work at the Illovo branch in Gauteng which is the Head Office for South Africa. The office is located in a prime business district within a secure office boulevard. There is a dynamic little shopping centre that is ideal for midweek dining or the occasional department outing. The most notable landmark though has to be the famous Wanderers Stadium, the venue of many a record setting sporting events. It may cause traffic to double at times, but just being in the vicinity at such times is sufficient compensation.
Why did you decide to join Roche and why at this location?
When I decided to join Roche in 2006, it was more out of convenience and location. The company was not in Illovo back then, but in Isando, which was a mere 10 minutes away from my home. Just having had my 2nd child in 2005, and being a paranoid parent, I did not want to be far away from them.
When the company decided to relocate to Illovo, which happens to be a considerable distance from where I live and with much more traffic, I had to seriously reconsider my employment. I then realized that I had actually evolved from seeing my work as a means of income, to appreciating my employment as a path on which a career was developing. I have also realized that the work we do has such a major impact on lives everywhere in the world including my own family, which has encouraged me to stay with the company.
What is your current position at Roche?
I have recently taken over the state sector with regards to tenders, orders, quotations. The current role is very demanding and challenging, especially when dealing with the state which has limited resources in most of the rural areas. I am very mindful that most patients treated at public health facilities are underprivileged and I am keen to be part of the process that gets them the critical treatment they deserve.
The supply of products to the state sector would mean a much broader coverage of the South African population. Access to better products resulting in prolonged lives, better quality of living and less strain on family members really keeps me motivated in fulfilling my duties at Roche.
The winning of a tender serves as vindication of the efforts of the company and the excitement it generates surpasses all the stress and challenges we face because I know that patients, finally have a chance at better health with the best products.
How would you describe Roche as an employer?
Roche is definitely focused on staff development and the performance evaluation method over the years has been more than fair, relevant and transparent.
I have also had the good fortune of being in teams that value their colleagues, individually and collectively. I received immense support and direction from my direct managers, which really helped shape my career path, aspirations and ambitions.
How would you describe the people working here?
I have worked with an array of individuals with varying personalities over the years. I have always found though that the Roche brand instills a very high level of pride, excellence and superiority in most employees, more especially those that are client facing. The people I have worked with have been passionate in their tasks and really owned the role they were given.
How is your job connected to “doing now what patients need next”
80% of South Africa’s population is funded by the State. Having Roche’s products competing for, and wining the State tenders would ensure access to this large portion of the South African population. As unemployment increases the pressure on the State Health Sector inevitably increases as well, so having the right medication available will ensure proper treatment immediately rather than prolonged and often ineffective alternatives.