Malawi currently has approximately 350 clinical doctors to treat a population of 18 million people. There is a critical need for further clinical training opportunities and research capacity to prevent doctors from leaving and not returning.
Malawi has one of the lowest life expectancies in the world (at 55 years compared to 80 in the UK) and Infectious diseases such as HIV, TB, and malaria, all preventable diseases, are the major causes of disability and death amongst adults and children.
The Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Research Programme (MLW) is the premier research institute in any low-income country worldwide; it provides training for the next generation of clinical researchers and supports research nurses and clinicians at the nearby Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital. For 30 years, MLW has pioneered major interventions and managed large clinical trials, including the trial of a modern rotavirus vaccine which cut infant deaths from diarrhoeal disease in Malawi by 39%. Their work on HIV self-testing led to the first demonstration of the feasibility and safety of this method, ultimately influencing international guidelines.
Despite this huge success, there is still a critical need across the region for improved training and clinical research capacity. This is essential for addressing the many emerging health threats facing Malawi, but also to combat the persistent issue of ‘brain drain’ in a country with one of the most under-served patient populations in the world. There is a shortage of clinical specialists within Malawi who could provide training supervision and a shortage of post-graduate training opportunities. This level of support and development is currently only available to those doctors willing and able to leave Malawi, often not returning.
CREATOR represents MLW’s ambitious vision for creating an environment for developing emerging African health leaders. It will be critical in training and retaining the brightest talent in-country, promoting a sustainable workforce in Malawi. It will also promote clinical and research excellence and collaboration focussed on catalysing new ideas, better health outcomes, and improved clinical care for the people of Malawi and the wider sub-Saharan African region.
The critical location of CREATOR, in the hospital grounds and between the existing laboratories and the wards, will ensure that a Centre is a meeting place, not only between clinicians and scientists but also acting as a hub for interaction with other research affiliates, including Blantyre Malaria Project and the Johns Hopkins HIV Project. It will also act as a base for MLW’s expanding community outreach teams who have mapped over a million people in intervention studies across the country.
State-of-the-art laboratories, flexible learning spaces, and simulation rooms will create an environment like no other in the region; providing opportunities for clinicians and researchers to make themselves experts. Recording and live-stream capabilities will enable interaction with global health leaders anywhere else in the world and mirrors LSTM’s own recent investment in its teaching facilities, specifically designed to bring the tropics to Liverpool.
The project will cost £10 million. Wellcome has committed £2.48 million, and LSTM and UoL £2 million each.
We have a fundraising target of £2.5 million.
If you are interested in finding out more about this project or you are interested in supporting CREATOR, we would love to hear from you.
Please contact Stacey Lavery on +44(0) 151 705 3778.