Purpose

The Scottish Malawi Mental Health Partnership (SMMHEP) provides psychiatric training and teaching to Malawian medical professionals and students. Our ethos is to respond to local needs as identified by our Malawian colleagues.

Mental health provision in the country lags a decade or more behind that of its neighbouring states and although Malawi has a population of around 18 million, with only 2 Malawian consultant psychiatrists practicing in the country. Mental health patients are cared for by a small number of Clinical Officers, who have a BSc in medicine and specialist training in psychiatry, or by psychiatric nurses. 

Working together with Malawian medics and institutions since 2006, SMMHEP's aim is to train and support the country’s medics to the point where Malawi has a sustainable level of skilled mental health professionals, thereby making our training role obsolete.  

Roles

  • Delivery of a 6-week psychiatric rotation to the undergraduates at the College of Medicine four times a year alongside the Head of Department
  • Support and supervision of postgraduate psychiatric training.
  • Support for ECT equipment and training.

Currently we

  • Train more than a hundred and fifty undergraduate medics a year.
  • Support the training of newpostgraduate trainee psychiatrists.
  • Produce an e-learning resource for undergraduates, postgraduates and clinical officers and psychiatric nurses.
  • Work with the Malawian psychiatrists and colleagues in Zambia to deliver a programme of Quality Improvement.

Evolution of SMMHEP

SMMHEP was born out of a conversation between Felix Kauye (Malawi’s only consultant psychiatrist at the time), Rob Stewart and other colleagues, lamenting the difficulties of training Malawian doctors in mental health.

Since 2006, SMMHEP has:

  • Designed and established undergraduate and postgraduate mental health teaching programmes at the College of Medicine in Blantyre.
  • Trained more than eight hundred undergraduate students.
  • Taught staff at Zomba Mental Hospital in the management of aggressive patients and the safe administration of electroconvulsive therapy.
  • Completed a three-year project, training primary healthcare workers in five districts.
  • Supported the first three Malawian postgraduate psychiatry trainees to complete their training.
  • Co-produced The Malawian Quick Guide to Mental Health, published in June 2020.