Global Health

Malawi fund logo

Safe and effective access to primary and secondary care is needed in the developing world. Approximately 30% of the global burden of disease can be attributed to surgically treatable conditions, yet over five billion people in low and middle income countries do not have access to safe and affordable care. Sub Saharan Africa alone has 24% of the global burden of disease but only 3% of the health workforce.

Care is needed across the range of healthcare specialties including medical, surgical, dental, infectious diseases, and podiatry services. Our multidisciplinary College is well placed to provide access to education and training to support and establish healthcare provision where it is needed most. As a leading voice in healthcare, we also provide leadership and independent advocacy on programmes to support healthcare provision in low and middle income countries.

The College’s Global Health Strategy Group is creating a cohesive, sustainable programme of work including medical education and practice to enhance the provision of healthcare in the developing world.

Position Statements and Media Releases.

Supporting medical training in Malawi

Malawi fund logo

Our College has a long history of supporting medical education and training in Malawi. In the next year, we plan to strengthen these links.

Working in partnership with health professionals in Malawi, we have identified clinical training needs and we will now work together to meet these by delivering College courses in Malawi. We are also providing bursaries to young Malawian doctors coming to Scotland for short periods of clinical training.

Our aim is to raise £50,000 to deliver these clinical training needs. You can support medical training in Malawi by donating via our Just Giving page – all donations are welcome.

Read about the completion of our first fundraising event, the ‘Five Ferry Challenge

Two Malawian surgeons are already benefiting from College support: Wone Banda and Takondwa Itaye-kamangira (TK), both trainee surgeons at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Blantyre in the southern region of Malawi, are currently working in Scotland thanks to support from our College as part of the UK Government’s Medical Training Initiative (MTI). The MTI was established to support international medical graduates to come to the UK for up to two years to gain clinical experience which will be of value to the healthcare needs in their home country.

Wone Banda is a trainee plastic surgeon who has spent the last number of months working at the burns unit at Glasgow Royal Infirmary. In Malawi, there are only two consultant plastic surgeons serving the needs of 16 million people. Wone hopes that her experience of working in Glasgow will help her achieve her goal to set up a dedicated plastic surgery unit in Malawi, she said:

“I have been able to gain vital experience working in Glasgow. In Malawi there is a shortage of beds and a shortage of surgeons. My dream is to go home and set up a dedicated plastic surgery unit. My time in Scotland is coming to an end, but it’s good to know that other students from my country will have the opportunity to train here in the future.”

TK is a trainee general surgeon with an interest in breast disease. Her aim is to improve outcomes for breast cancer patients in Malawi through early detection and more resources for treatment. TK said:

“My Father came to study at Strathclyde University in the 1980s and always shared stories with us about life in Glasgow. When the opportunity came up I was determined to come over.

“Although our hospital in Blantyre is city based, we experience people travelling many miles for treatment. With only one general surgeon and four intensive care beds, we make life or death decisions on who to treat.

“In Malawi, the incidence of breast cancer is on the increase, while awareness is low. Patients are often at an advanced stage of the disease by the time we see them. Good education is key for patients and surgeons and the opportunity to learn with my Scottish colleagues is invaluable.”

Vice President (Surgical), Mike McKirdy, who is leading the College’s global health initiative, said: “Safe and effective access to primary and secondary care is needed in the developing world. More than five billion people in low and middle income countries do not have access to safe and affordable care. Sub Saharan Africa alone has 24% of the global burden of disease but only 3% of the health workforce. This is a global issue, but we are focused on helping locally by identifying needs and responding with targeted support. Delivering surgical skills and train the trainer courses in specific regions of Malawi will be important, as will providing opportunities for Malawi-based trainees to gain experience in the UK.

“Our College has a long history of working in partnership with medical teams in different parts of Africa, and there is a strong historical bond between Scotland and Malawi.”


Five Ferry Challenge

The College’s Supporting medical training in Malawi fundraising campaign was officially launched on 3 September as a number of senior clinicians embarked on the very hilly 51 mile “5 ferry challenge” cycle across North Kintyre and Firth of Clyde. The challenge pushed participants to their physical limits as they raced to catch the ferry at each leg of the route.

The team of cyclists taking part included:

  • President, Professor David Galloway
  • Vice President (Surgical), Mike McKirdy
  • Vice President (Surgical), Kevin Baird
  • Vice President (Medical), Jackie Taylor
  • Vice President (Dental), Richard Welbury
  • Dean of the Faculty of Travel Medicine, Andy Green
  • Immediate past Dean of the Faculty of Travel Medicine, Mike Jones
  • Council Members Adrian Stanley, Emilia Crighton, and Drummond Mansbridge
  • Fellows and Members of the Faculty of Dental Surgery, Jeremy Bagg, Graeme Wright and William Mclean
  • Scottish Clinical Leadership Fellow with the College, Stuart Fergusson
  • Family members of the team, Julie Baird and Colin Taylor

Support was provided by the Dean of the Faculty of Podiatric Medicine, Stuart Baird and the interim Chief Operating Officer, Linda Irvine, and members of the College Communications Team.

The challenge was a great success and by the end of the day the fundraising total had reached nearly £15,000.

College President, Professor David Galloway, said: “The whole event was a terrific experience. We are all delighted with the support and response, which has surpassed our expectations.”

Our fundraising efforts will continue over the coming months, aiming to reach our target of £50,000 to support medical training in Malawi. Please give what you can to support this campaign, all donations are welcome via our Just Giving page.

Pictures of the day

The team embark on the first ferry of the challenge

The Peddling Profs from the Faculty of Dental Surgery

College Vice President (surgical) Mike McKirdy


Quick lunch on the ferry

Group selfie with the President

Vice President (medical) Jackie Taylor on the home stretch

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