Medical help for Malawi

Improving the treatment of mental illness.

Up to £300,000 of funding will help combat the chronic absence of psychiatrists in the Malawian health sector, it was announced today.

The funding will allow several psychiatry students to undertake a four-year course at Malawi’s College of Medicine and South Africa’s University of Cape Town.

The Scotland Malawi Mental Health Education Project (SMMHEP), a mental health non-governmental organisation based in Edinburgh, will coordinate delivery of the funding with teaching support from the University of Edinburgh.

Since 2010, SMMHEP has worked to improve education and training of mental healthcare professionals in Malawi and established the psychiatry course at the College of Medicine.

Minister for International Development and Europe Dr Alasdair Allan said:

"Scotland and Malawi have a special relationship and we have achieved much since our two countries signed the co-operation agreement more than a decade ago. This funding heralds a new chapter in our historic relationship with the college, the country’s only public medical school.

“At present, there are no Malawian psychiatrists practicing in the country, but this funding will provide psychiatry graduates to take forward the profession in the years to come and teach the next generation.”

Professor John Saka, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Malawi who is visiting Scotland to receive an honorary degree from the University of Strathclyde, said:

“I am delighted that the Scottish Government is supporting the University to provide Malawi’s first ever Masters course in clinical psychiatry.

“Scottish Government projects have already made a significant impact at the College of Medicine, helping to quadruple the number of medical graduates in Malawi, and this new funding will be critical in developing a sustainable mental healthcare service in our country.”

Dr Rob Stewart, Scotland Malawi Mental Health Education Project said:

“The psychiatrists trained by the project will be leaders in improving health care for people living with mental health problems in Malawi. Scottish Government grants to SMMHEP will help the University of Malawi College of Medicine (COM) deliver the country’s first ever fully qualified psychiatrists who we hope will go on to teach the next generation.

“This new project will lay the foundation for Malawi to become self-sustaining in providing undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in the future, and we are very pleased that the University of Edinburgh will provide additional educational expertise and resources to the project.”

Notes to editors

More information contact the Scotland Malawi Mental Health Education Project on:

In 2015, the First Minister committed the Scottish Government to the new UN Sustainable Development Goals, which emphasise a dual approach to tackling poverty and inequality at home and abroad.

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