Malawi currently has only 1 doctor per 50,000 of the population and no Malawian psychiatrists, and yet, according to the Mental Health Atlas from the WHO, neuropsychiatric disorders are thought to contribute to 4.3% of the global burden of disease. It is understandable that in a country where the leading causes of death are HIV/AIDS (27% of deaths), lower respiratory tract infections (8.6%) and malaria (6.3%), the focus has not been on mental health. In addition, the provision of aid, project funding and human resources have greatly guided by the Millennium Development Goals which did not include mental health services.
Up to £300,000 of funding from the Scottish Government will be used to put several psychiatry students through a masters programme coordinated by the College of Medicine in Blantyre, the Scotland Malawi Mental Health Education Programme and the University of Edinburgh. Their aim is that the newly trained psychiatrists will go on to lead improvements in the provision of mental health services and teach generations to come, thus providing the foundation for a sustainable programme. If you’re a higher psychiatric trainee or a consultant psychiatrist, the team are recruiting for 2016/2017 now – email here to find out more.