Malawi is set to open its first-ever dental school to train dentists, courtesy of the Scottish Government through the University of Glasgow.
University of Malawi College of Medicine (CoM) Principal Dr Mwapasa Mipando broke the news on Wednesday when visiting Scotland Minister for European Migration and International Development Ben Macpherson toured CoM’s Lilongwe Campus to assess progress on the establishment of the dental school.
Said Mipando: “We have been developing the curriculum and have already bought part of the equipment for the school. Actual training of dentists is going to start next year with initial enrolment of 15 students.”
He said the school would increase the number of dentists and improve provision of dental care services in the country.
Mipando said Malawi has been training its dentists abroad and currently has 36 dentists against an estimated population of 17 million.
He said: “The majority of these 36 are practising in private medical facilities. This has created a shortage in public hospitals which is depriving Malawians of access to dental care because most of them cannot afford to pay for the services in private hospitals.”
In his remarks, Macpherson said he was impressed with progress being made on the dental school project.
He commended the partnership between CoM and the University of Glasgow, saying it is mutually benefiting the two institutions through an exchange of ideas.
Macpherson is in the country to, among other engagements, attend the Malawi-Scotland Partnership high-level conference this weekend under the theme Together for Sustainable Development.
During a news conference in Lilongwe on Wednesday, it was announced that Scotland has committed to disburse 11 million pounds (about K11.3 billion) to various civil society organisations it works with to undertake projects aimed at achieving local and international development goals.
The Malawi and Scotland partnership dates back to 160 years ago. n