You are here : Home / Symposia & Conferences

Symposia & Conferences

Adverse Reaction causality assignment and Signal detection.

Frider Chimimba and Nettie Dzabala joined WHO colleagues from Uppsala Pharmacovigilance Centre to run a training conference in the Bingu conference centre in Lilongwe, in November 2018, as part of our commitment to the national pharmacovigilance programme.



Good Clinical Practice for Trials and Biologicals in Trials

Professor Sveinbjörn Gizurarson from Iceland paid us a short visit in October

2018 to run training in two topics: Good Clinical Practice in Clinical Trials, and Biologicals in Clinical Trials (vaccines, peptides, antibodies, genes). His expertise in Biopharmaceutics and Vaccinology was a great benefit to participants from all parts of the College and collaborating institutions. Professor Gizurarson has set up a formal collaboration between the Icelandic University and our College and is hoping to facilitate research exchanges between our two countries.

National Agenda for Traditional and Complementary Medicine (TCM) 2018.

Our own Mr John Mponda moderated a two day symposium in Lilongwe attended by the Minister of Health, the Vice-chancellor, and many other dignitaries and professional leaders. The meeting brought together traditional healers and scientists and health workers. KK Nyirenda said “This was a really useful conference to move the national agenda forward in TCM”

 Traditional and Complementary Medicine Workshops 2017-18

John Mponda chaired a two-week workshop symposium on traditional and complementary medicines as part of his role in ACEPHEM. Inspired by a conference visit to Germany, he enlisted support from other departments and Colleges  to deliver a highly-acclaimed educational experience. Our own staff delivered much of the teaching which covered botany, phytochemistry, environmental considerations, quality assurance, regulation and policy, and much else.   Workshop Report

Participants said :  The workshop has really helped me as a pharmacist on how to advise patients”

“It was fun and interactive and bringing people with different backgrounds was more exciting; it showed how ACEPHEM wants to use multidisciplinary approach to achieve its goal”

In August 2018 John organised a symposium on the regulation of herbal and traditional medicines and was joined by experts from Germany including Mrs Ute Norwig from the German regulator and Professors Heide and Wesserjohn. Felix Khuluza presented on the draft regulations in Malawi.

Course photo

Research Dissemination conference

 Restoring trust in medicines:  Research from Pharmacy Department proves good medicines quality.

CoM Pharmacy Department organized a research dissemination workshop in Lilongwe on 5th April 2017 to share results under the theme of “Restoring trust in medicines in Malawian public health facilities: Research of the Pharmacy Department  proves good medicines quality”.

Participants came from a diverse range of organizations: Principal Secretary in Ministry of Health; Pharmacy Medicines and Poisons Board Acting Registrar; Chief Executive Officer of Central Medical Stores; German Embassy, GIZ-Malawian Health program; USAID-Malawi ; Action medeor;  Nkhoma Mission Hospital; SADM pharmaceuticals; Ministry of Information and media houses (TVM, Daily Times and Nation); the Principal, Registrar, and members of CoM.

The workshop was opened by the CoM Principal, Dr. Mipando who stated that the University is for training students, research, consultancy as well as community engagement while COM research activities aim to have an impact on Malawian and international community. He spoke of the need to improve perception of pharmacists from people who stand at a small window, as well as negative stories of pharmacy in the public. He emphasized that CoM has people working on implementing evidence-based research.

The key presentation by Felix Khuluza and Professor Lutz Heide  “The Quality of Antimalarial and Antibiotic Medicines in Malawi” gave details on the distribution of poor quality medicines. While the majority of medicines in Public Health facilities and Christian Health Association of Malawi (CHAM) facilities are good quality, products in the private sector tend to have more problems. Quality problems were noticed from products purportedly coming from India, Kenya and Malawi.  “Quality assurance system of CMST” showed why the public sector has good quality medicines; CMST batch tests every medicine before circulation though this increases the costs.

Key stakeholders emphasized the need for PMPB and academia to be vigilant in monitoring the market to prevent entry and proliferation of poor quality medicines. They appealed to PMPB to focus on the private sector where problems of low quality medicines are more prevalent. PMPB is working with local manufacturers to bring their facilities to an international level.

Other presentations centered on availability and affordability of medicines in private and CHAM facilities. The  prices paid by the patient are relatively lower than internationally which may be attributed to free public health care which forces private facilities not to raise their prices . However the costs for majority of the studied medicines were unaffordable by many Malawians, and government and donor support is needed to avert catastrophic household expenditure on health care.

Frider Chimimba presented on pharmacovigilance which is the science and activities relating to the detection, evaluation, understanding and prevention of adverse drug reactions or any other drug-related problems. Until 2015 there was no pharmacovigilance in Malawi but CoM Pharmacy has done a number of things which have resulted in the country being affiliated (as associate member) to WHO’s International Drug Safety Monitoring in 2016. The first pharmacovigilance centre is housed at CoM and several trainings  have been done in both public and private health facilities.

In his concluding remarks, Dr Namarika (Principal Secretary, MoH) emphasized the need for patient-focused health care. He also welcomed the results as a vote of confidence of public health care and challenged the audience to also focus on pharmaceutical security issues.

Acknowledgements: The Principal and Management of CoM for funding the conference; GIZ-Malawi Health Program for funding the study; CARTA for supporting PhD of Felix Khuluza,    University of Tubingen and DEAFAM for technical support