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MLW Hosts First GHBN Regional Meeting

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GHBN PictureMalawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust (MLW) recently hosted a meeting for Global Health Bioethics Network (GHBN). This was the first GHBN Africa regional meeting which saw the Kenyan Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), South Africa’s African Health Research Institute (ARHI) and the host Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust converge to share and interact from the 18th to the 20th of September 2018.

During the regional meeting representatives from the Africa Asia Programmes (AAPs) gave presentations on various research projects in their countries. Representatives shared lessons learnt, theories of change, methods for research implementation and the processes of monitoring and evaluation carried out in their respective research areas.

The AAPs discussed and presented issues in attempt to improve the methods used by individual MOPs in executing their research objectives. The meeting also provided the teams with an opportunity to collectively evaluate their various projects, learn from each other and collaborate on future projects.

Speaking on the last day of the meeting, a representative of KEMRI Noni Mumba noted that the presentations and discussions revealed similarities of research work but there were some differences in the ways of performing some duties.

“We are in Africa and are from low income communities therefore we have similarities in the type of population that we serve but how we do our work is different. The meeting provided the teams with an opportunity to learn from each other and make improvements where necessary,” said Mumba.

The meeting not only provided the teams with a chance to interact, but it also gave them an opportunity to experience and appreciate firsthand the interventions and engagements made by MLW in communities of interest. This was done on the last day of the meeting, when the teams went for a site visit in Chiradzulu district.


MLW Hosts Africa Science Week Industrial Visit

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ASW Industrial VisitOn Friday the 28th of September 2018, MLW hosted students from different schools within Blantyre as part of the annual Africa Science Week (ASW) celebrations organised by the Next Einstein Forum, an organisation that provides platforms across the continent for connecting science and policy.

This year the Africa Science Week ambassador Chikondi Shaba worked with MLW to host the industrial visit, marking an end to the week-long celebration of science. The event, dubbed ‘Africa Science Week Industrial Visit’ started with brief interaction sessions, where the students were oriented on MLW’s vision and career opportunities in research and health.

The students were also addressed by achieved scientists currently working at the institution. The scientists included research intern Marah Chibwana and PhD research student Chikondi Malamba. The two took turns to share their personal stories to inspire the audience. The students in turn, were given a chance to pose questions to the speakers.

The students also had a tour of MLW offices and the laboratories. The students, accompanied by their teachers, were shown how tests in laboratories are conducted and how test samples are preserved.

The Africa Science Week happens annually and has picked up pace and popularity since its launch in Malawi in 2017.


Wellcome hosts Master’s Fellows in Public Health and Tropical Medicine in London 28 June 2018

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Wellcome Trust FellowsThe current cohort of Wellcome Master’s Fellows in Public Health and Tropical Medicine met their funders at Wellcome offices in London on 28th June, 2018. Wellcome organised the event, titled “Wellcome Master’s in Public Health and Tropical Medicine Day” to provide an opportunity for the Master’s Fellows in Public Health and Tropical Medicine to network with fellow holders of the fellowship and to showcase and enlighten them about the broad range of research that Wellcome supports in low- or middle- income countries.



MLW’s 2017 to 2021 fellows: Lizzie Tchongwe-Divala, Melody Sakala, Donnie Mategula, Mphatso Phiri and Rhosheen Mthawanji, attended together with fellows from other countries including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Vietnam, Guatemala and Sudan.

The meeting was chaired by Wellcome Career Development Lead, Dr Branwen Hennig, supported by several grants advisors, The Wellcome Director of Science, Dr Simon Kay; The International Operations and Partnership Adviser, Claire Fearn; International Engagement Relationships Manager, Georgia Bladon; The Wellcome Open Research coordinator, Diego Baptista and Wellcome Infection and Immunobiology Team Manager, Dr Sheilagh Molloy who all took turns to share their work and career and life advice to the attendees.

In addition to networking, several issues were discussed at the meeting. The fellows were updated on the change of name of several Wellcome fellowships following a recent review of the schemes. The rebranding is aimed at attracting a broader group of scientists with more diverse research backgrounds. The Master’s Fellowships in Public Health and Tropical Medicine scheme now bears a new name – The International Master’s Fellowship – as of 4 June 2018, with the current cohort the last one to bear the former name. The fellows were also updated on several Wellcome activities within low or middle-income countries including those at the Africa and Asia Programmes in Kenya Malawi, South Africa, Thailand and Vietnam; at The Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa and the DELTAS schemes to establish cutting-edge research and training programmes across the African continent.
The meeting also provided a platform to encourage the fellows to publish on the Wellcome Open Research platform; which is a new way for Wellcome-funded researchers to expedite sharing results from their work. There was also a discussion on how Wellcome values public engagement and the need to have creative ways to engage with the public when conducting research, even through nontraditional platforms such as social media.

The guest of honor was Professor Faith Osier from the University of Heidelberg who shared her inspiring personal story of her career development, to which Wellcome has been a major contributor. She also gave a special lecture titled “People versus Parasites: Learning to win against Plasmodium Falciparum malaria.”

Commenting on her thoughts about the meeting, Rhosheen Mthawanji said “It was a remarkable day. The event was not only well organized, but also it gave us the opportunity to be inspired by the lovely Faith Osier and meet other fellows who are completing their fellowships. The day was filled with so many speakers and activities. However, the highlight of the day for me was when we strategised on what makes a good fellowship application, this was an in-depth look at what the Wellcome Trust looks for in a candidate, this activity really gave us insights on how to approach future applications”