Scotland has helped to train the first psychiatrists to qualify in Malawi.
The Scotland Malawi Mental Health Education Project (SMMHEP)
A collaboration between South Africa’s University of Cape Town, Malawi’s College of Medicine, the University of Edinburgh and with backing by the Scottish Government has resulted in the successful training of 3 psychiatrists bringing the total in Malawi to 4.
That is 1 for every 4.5 million people. A further 4 students are currently being trained.
Dr Carol Robertson, Scotland Malawi Mental Health Education Project and Consultant Psychiatrist, NHS Grampian said:
“Over the past 11 years SMMHEP has arranged for over 100 volunteer Psychiatrists to teach the undergraduates in Malawi. This has resulted in the delivery of high quality medical education which has laid the foundations of psychiatric awareness in a generation of junior doctors in Malawi.
“The very positive feedback that we get from these students will improve the treatment of psychiatric patients and has inspired some of them to train further.”
Malawi has an estimated population of over 18 million.
It is one of the world’s least developed countries with 85% of the population living in rural areas.
Dr Robert Stewart, SMMHEP Consultant Psychiatrist, NHS Lothian and Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer, University of Edinburgh said:
“There is still much work to be done. The ambition now is for the College of Medicine to become self-sustaining in training a whole generation of psychiatrists who will lead the development of safe, effective and culturally appropriate mental health services across Malawi.”
Dr Alasdair Allan, Minister for International Development and Europe in the Scottish Government said:
“Thanks to Scottish expertise, for the first time in a generation, this project has helped train three clinically qualified psychiatrists at Malawi’s College of Medicine including the first Malawian woman to become a psychiatrist.”
“The Scotland Malawi Mental Health Education Project has worked to address the chronic lack of mental healthcare provision in Malawi by educating and training mental healthcare professionals and establishing the postgraduate psychiatry course at the country’s College of Medicine.”