Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Programme

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Social Sciences






Who we are:

A cross-cutting and multidisciplinary team of social scientists from within MLW and affiliated research institutions working together to advance the field of health-related social sciences.  Since the theme will be cross-cutting, it may overlap with other themes.

What we (will) do

  • Create a safe space where social science researchers can develop independent research
  • Provide support to upcoming social science researchers including providing peer support
  • Support other themes and groups which are interested to employ social science research methods
  • Catalyse interest in social sciences research career among junior researchers
  • Strengthen research collaboration with the Kamuzu University of Health Science, regional and International social science researchers
  • Promote visibility of social science research within and outside MLW
  • Support post-graduate research methods training at Kamuzu University of Health Sciences

Current Study

  • Developing “U=U” communication messages in Malawi: Establishing evidence on feasibility and acceptability.
  • Study Acronym: ACCEPTU2U
  • Study Aim: To address the information gap on treatment as prevention (TasP) through developing contextually relevant TasP messaging materials that emphasise “U=U” information targeting HIV discordant couples in order optimise adherence to ART, reduce new HIV infections sero-discordant couples and increase male partner engagement in HIV self-testing, prevention and care.
  • Funder: EDCTP
  • Host: HNTI, KUHES
EDCTP Career Development Fellow

Dr. Moses Kelly Kumwenda holds a PhD in Public Health – Medical Anthropology from the University of Malawi, a Master of Philosophy in Environmental Geography from the University of the Western Cape, and a Bachelor of Education (Geography and Demography major) from the University of Malawi. He is currently working as an EDCTP Career Development Fellow at the Helse Nord TB Initiative (HNTI) of the Kamuzu University of Health Sciences and Malawi Liverpool Wellcome, in Blantyre - Malawi. He currently leads the Social Sciences Theme, the Gender in Health Associate group, and work as an Associate Group Head for the Maternal and Fetal Group at Malawi Liverpool Wellcome. He holds honorary Research Associate positions at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and the University of Liverpool. His research interests are in areas of gender, specifically masculinities, mental health and novel psychosocial interventions, and the understanding social impacts of new biomedical technologies using applied social science research methods (Implementation Science). He has long-standing interests in research on access to health services and social benefits and potential harms linked new health interventions. Dr Moses Kumwenda co-authored more than 50 peer-reviewed publications in the field of public health over the past 13 years. He has contributed greatly on work about HIV self-testing which has informed both the national and international policies. He has also contributed to the development of the WHO-TDR Intersectional Gender Analysis Toolkit.

Senior Research Associate

I am a Senior Research Associate, trained in qualitative research and expert in health systems at Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme (MLW). I am currently co-Director for Multilink study, leading a multidisciplinary team of clinicians, health economists, statisticians and social scientists in an NIHR-funded four year study that is designing and testing a system which identifies patients suffering from multimorbidity during emergency assessment in sub-Saharan African hospitals. As trial manager, I have previously delivered an MRC-funded randomized controlled trial at University of Witwatersrand’s Centre for Health Policy, Johannesburg. This tested the effectiveness of task-shifting to clinic based lay health workers for patients with chronic diseases in multiple clinics in rural South African. I have also chaired the process evaluation working group of the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (GACD). With my specific expertise of social science with complex interventions, I have also focused on hospital treatment as Social Science theme lead of the NIHR Global Health Group on Sepsis (ARCS) and delivered a global Delphi consultation process for developing standards for sepsis care. With Malawi policymakers and WHO Knowledge Translation Unit, I established the national knowledge translation platform for evidence-based decision making. I provide technical advice through a Ministry of Health expert groups for NCDs. My recent work has documented important health system and inpatient perspectives during the pivot to COVID-19 management in Malawi. My Post-Doc experience has seen me teaching and supervising PhD and Masters Students. Grants Multimorbidity-associated emergency hospital admissions: a “screen and link” strategy to improve outcomes for high-risk patients in sub-Saharan (Multilink study) – NIHR supported (201708)

Post-doctoral Research Associate
Postdoctoral Research Associate

Thomasena is a Postdoctoral Research Associate with the Bacterial and Drug Resistant Infections Group at Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Programme. She is an experienced Health Policy and Systems Researcher, living in Malawi since 2008. Currently, Thomasena’s research focus is on supporting, designing, and evaluating the implementation of the current WHO framework for improved Infection Prevention and Control Practice in secondary and tertiary facilities in the southern region of Malawi. Additionally, Thomasena is supporting the development of a community engagement intervention to improve understanding of antimicrobial resistance in Malawi. As a member of the Health Systems Global Thematic Working Group on Teaching and Learning, she is leading the evaluation and update of their existing global training database. During her doctoral studies, Thomasena adopted a systems-thinking approach to construct a theory towards strengthening health leadership and management capacity of Human Resources for Health as part of efforts to strengthen health care systems and improve quality of care in Malawi. Before this, she was the Deputy Head of the Behaviour and Health Group at MLW and a UK country representative and project manager for the Meningitis Research Foundation. She has a strong implementation and mixed methods research background, with her earlier research and writing rooted in exploring the impact of health seeking behaviour and primary health systems in access to care and outcomes for children in LMICs. Currently, Thomasena is an active member of the Social Science Theme and Policy Unit at the MLW, as well as an appointed member of the Malawi MoH Leadership and Management Task Force.  Outside of research, Thomasena sits on the Board of Directors for The Mentorship and Philanthropic Centre. She has completed a Certified Leadership Coach (CLC) Training Program approved by the International Coach Federation (ICF), and she hopes to utilise these skills to coach, support and empower others to achieve their personal and professional goals.