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UofG partners with Kamuzu University in Malawi to tackle together issues of healthcare, medicine and inequalities

23 February 2024
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A new project to expand and enhance knowledge while promoting collective research for the greater good is the mission of the Blantyre–Blantyre project, an example of a fair global partnership between CIVIS Member, the University of Glasgow, and Kamuzu University of Health Sciences (KUHeS), in Malawi. Both institutions say they hope to set an example of how universities should move forward together.
Laboratory at KUHeS, ©UofG

Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli (UofG) and Dr Mwapatsa Mipando (KUHeS) agree that infectious and non-communicable diseases, and the serious challenge of multimorbidity require innovative solutions. Therefore, the brightest of minds on both continents are required to share ideas and research to drive the needed innovative solutions.

The partnership in action

The Blantyre–Blantyre project was developed through a two-way discussion of need, expertise and complementarity between the two institutions. This symbiotic partnership has produced a joint healthcare programme to compare the cause of poor health and low life expectancy in Blantyre, Malawi and the West of Scotland - symbolised by Blantyre, Scotland, and a state-of-the-art research facility, based in the former institution.

Today, that facility houses cutting-edge research and diagnostic equipment previously unavailable in the area. It hosts researchers and postgraduate students from the global south and the global north, working together on joint research and grant applications. Aiming to become self-sustaining, the laboratory provides clinical diagnostic services to local medical schemes and plans to host large global clinical trials. Having these facilities in-country in Malawi enables access to trials for cohorts that represent both populations.


The laboratory runs on a solar-powered energy system, ensuring continuity of power in an area where power cuts can be frequent. The excess power from this green energy solution is distributed to the Kamuzu University of Health Sciences’ (KUHeS) main campus in Blantyre.

This project aligns with several of the United Nations’s Sustainable Development Goals and was highlighted by the European Commission as an example of best practice in partnership work that addresses the goals. This collaboration is inspiring other global networks to redefine what a truly equitable research partnership looks like. Critically, the information gleaned through this mutual partnership will serve to improve health in both nations.

The road to a fair partnership

A partnership is not merely a posture, but a continuous process that grows stronger as we devote ourselves to common tasks. Although Glasgow (Scotland) and Blantyre (Malawi) are almost 8,000 miles apart, many core values are shared by both universities: the pursuit of knowledge, a desire for a more sustainable and equitable future, and a collegial approach.

Many of the decisions taken in both institutions are rooted in understanding the wider context of Glasgow and Malawi, and the impact their decision-making might have on the cities, communities and on society as a whole.

As universities, they are firmly embedded locally, having the ability to make a genuine impact on local communities through their connections and the community of students and staff who live, work and study in the vicinity of the campuses. 

Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli ©UofG
Dr Mwapatsa Mipando (KUHeS) ©UofG






Of course, education is a major vehicle for reducing inequality, offering opportunities for better-paid jobs and creating pathways to positive destinations. But addressing inequality goes beyond education. It’s important to ensure they are directly tackling health, economic and wider social inequalities at the same time.

It's well known that such complex and widespread challenges cannot be solved by one institution or one nation alone, therefore both universities will continue to seek opportunities to collaborate with those who share their vision. The collective mission is to use science, research, innovation and community action to effect change at a local and global level. We all must work together to take an all-encompassing approach to address the major challenges facing the world, from disease and poverty to climate change and food insecurity.

Read the original, full article on UofG's webpage.