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Students testify  in Parliament

Student-led groups Friends for Life and Phuka were invited to speak to the Parliamentary Committee on Social and Community Affairs on 23rd October. They spent an hour with MPs who wanted to know how they were assisting students with low income and other social disadvantages. One MP described the testimony as “touching and also encouraging” as Jeremiah Kabaghe and Patience Puma explained eloquently how students are assisted by gifts from fellow students and by encouragement in entrepreneurship and trading.

CoM Staff team defeats all

CoM staff triumphed over all other UNIMA colleges and MUST to be the sports champions for 2018. Happy Nyirongo nursed his broken leg and still coached the football team to a clean-sheet victory in 4 games, making them champions. Ibrahim Chikowe was on target in the Darts competition and Nelson Nyoloka was on cue in Pool. CoM won the overall competition after languishing in bottom place in recent years.

Stuart Jere wins Essay Prize

Undergraduate, Stuart Jere, was the overall winner in a competition organised by Medic to Medic in 2018. His essay, entitled  How cooperation between African Countries can improve the situation of limited resources in Healthcare was judged to be the best, not only in pharmacy but in the whole country. Stuart concludes:

“With a high a burden of diseases and limited heath care resources in Africa, cooperation between countries can indeed be a very good way of containing the problem. Not only will the countries which are very poor benefit from this cooperation but also others because diseases have no borders. Assisting the neighbour to get treated faster from an infectious disease could sometimes mean protecting one’s self from being also affected by the very disease.”

PhDs and Fellowship awarded

In 2018, two long-standing teachers were awarded PhDs. Dr Felix Khuluza is the first Malawi Pharmacy graduate to gain his PhD from the College of Medicine (see below for his research area). Dr Kumbukani Nyirenda gained his PhD from Pretoria University for work on the chemistry of biological molecules. He competed for an African  Fellowship for Early Career Research Leaders and was awarded a collaboration with Pretoria University to pursue his work on applications of herbal starches from Lower Shire. In case you are wondering, another early Malawi Pharmacy graduate, Dr Baxter Kachingwe, led the way with his PhD in 2017, but from Taiwan not CoM.

WHO review cites Khuluza’s work

The WHO has published a review of the world literature on substandard and falsified medicines. In ten years (2007-16) they found only 100 papers of acceptable quality for the review. Two of these were authored by Felix Khuluza. Had they gone on to 2017, they would have found a third! Click for an extract of the report.A study on the public health and socioeconomic impact of substandard and falsified medical products_

Students please note: One of these papers was based on an undergraduate project!

Khuluza, F (2014) “In-vitro evaluation of the quality of Paracetamol and Co-trimoxazole tablets used in Malawi based on pharmacopeial standards,” Malawi Medical Journal, 26(2):38:41.
Khuluza F, Kigera S, Jaehnke RWO, Heide L (2016) “Use of thin-layer chromatography to detect counterfeit sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine tablets with the wrong active ingredient in Malawi,” Malaria Journal, 15:215
Khuluza F, Kigera S, Heide L (2017) Low prevalence of substandard and falsified antimalarial and antibiotic medicines in public and faith-based health facilities of Southern Malawi. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 96: 1124–1135

Master of Herbal Medicines and Phytochemistry

The department is submitting an application for a new Masters degree.

Led by Ibrahim Chikowe, we held a symposium for stakeholders to finalise details of the curriculum. The 2-day meeting at Game Haven, which included contributors from UNIMA and CoM,  was highly productive and a draft curriculum will be available  shortly.


International footballers in pharmacy

Lab technician, Mr Happy Nyirongo, captained the University football team in the SADC international tournament in South Africa in December 2017 against 18 other universities. With him was lecturer Mr Ibrahim Chikowe.

The University team beat Limpopo University but lost by one goal to Swaziland in a match which saw one of our players depart with a broken leg. Senior university officials were present and it is hoped that next year there will be official funding for training and preparation.

Malawi medicines delivery on BBC

On 5th December, BBC World Service featured work in rural Malawi on delivery of healthcare to rural areas by drones.  Listen here   or go to the BBCworldhacks Facebook page for video which should be posted soon.

Development of Pharmacy Assistant education

Global Fund and Ministry of Health commission Pharmacy to develop new courses.

Having recognised that a large number of health facilities in Malawi have no pharmacy input, the Global Fund and MoH commissioned CoM Pharmacy to design and implement new course for Pharmacy Assistants in two CHAM-supported colleges in Northern and Central regions. The Certificate courses are expected to recruit 50 students per year at both Ekwendeni College (Mzuzu) and St Joseph College (Nguludi). After two years, the graduates will be equipped to provide quality pharmacy supply services in rural clinics. They will manage ordering, purchase, safe storage, and supply of medicines. Staff worked at full speed to produce the new curriculum which will be an improvement on existing schemes, and arrange staff and student recruitment for the courses which started in November 2017.

Support from Medic-to-Medic

Pharmacy is one of the departments to receive support for students from British charity, Medic-to-Medic. Grants may be awarded to students from rural areas, or who are in hardship, to help them complete their degrees. (Requests for assistance are made through the Faculty Dean of Students.)

Representatives of Medic-to-Medic visited the Department recently and an article requesting support from British Pharmacists was published on the Pharmaceutical Journal website. Undergraduate Stuart Jere won the 2018 Medic to Medic essay competition (see above).

Medic to Medic Winter 2017 Newsletter