Work on a life-changing US $12.3m first specialist postgraduate medical training centre (MTC) in Malawi is set to start in the new year. FBW Group is leading the project’s design and technical team. Technical designs are expected to be completed by FBW in October and then tendered, with site works anticipated to start at the beginning of 2021.
The new Clinical Research and Training Open Resource (Creator) in Malawi will provide the most sophisticated research environment in the country. FBW will also be providing technical oversight for the initial enabling works expected to start on site soon.
Creator is a partnership between the University of Malawi’s College of Medicine (CoM), Queen Elizabeth’s Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi, the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM), the University of Liverpool and the medical research foundation Wellcome.
Wellcome has committed US $2.5m to the project and LSTM and the University of Liverpool are providing US $3.9m each. More fundraising is underway.
Malawi currently has around 600 clinical doctors to treat a population of 16 million. The new centre will meet a critical need for further training and research opportunities, helping to halt the ‘brain drain’ that sees doctors leave the country to progress their careers. Malawi has one of the lowest life expectancies in the world.
The Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust Research Programme (MLW) currently provides training for the next generation of clinical researchers and supports research nurses and clinicians at the Queen Elizabeth Central hospital (QECH) in Blantyre. The new centre will be built in its grounds.
Over the last 25 years MLW has made notable scientific contribution in the management of malaria and HIV. It says the Creator project will be “a step-change” in the scale of clinical research and a reversal of the norm of trainees leaving Malawi and the region to receive specialist education elsewhere.
According to Lindiwe Mafuleka, communications lead for MLW, the increase in scale of research and number of researchers translates into increased contribution and progress in the improvement of health. This is of great importance for securing better health for the region and beyond.
“The project is a monumental step towards new levels of excellence for MLW. The building will accommodate a 30% increase in research activity over the next 10 years. This will be combined, for the first time, with postgraduate specialist medical education by engaging with hospital academic departments and 140 or more postgraduate clinical and non-clinical research trainees,” said Lindiwe.