Minister of Health Khumbize Chiponda has commended the College of Medicine (CoM), a constituent college of the University of Malawi, for its role in the country’s fight against Covid-19.
Speaking yesterday after touring the institution’s Blantyre campus, the minister said ever since the pandemic reached the country, the college has been working on innovations and conducting research which has helped the nation in handling the pandemic.
She said: “CoM was one of the first institutions to respond to the pandemic in terms of giving advice on the clinical side of it, treatment, diagnosis and research.
“As government, whatever policy we come up with which affects the health sector has to be based on research and we rely on CoM to help us.”
On funding, Chiponda, who was accompanied by other ministry officials, including Principal Secretary Dr Charles Mwansambo, said government will use off-budget allocations to support the college in its Covid-19 innovations.
She asked the college to find more platforms to showcase what it is doing and attract more funding.
On his part, CoM acting principal Dr Macpherson Mallewa appealed for funding to enable the institution venture into more research and grow.
He said: “As an institution of higher learning that is growing, we have a number of things that we need government to support us on.
“We would like the ministry to support the college in its endeavor to combat the Covid-19 pandemic mainly in three areas; public health which involves surveillance, clinical management of patients with the virus and diagnostics which involves testing.”
Mallewa added that as an academic institution, CoM has a mandate to conduct research on various aspects of Covid-19 which can inform policy and practice in Malawi and beyond.
“We have also learnt a lot on the pandemic which can be applied in other pandemics in future,” he said.
On the status of unbundling from the University of Malawi, Mallewa said the college is ready to move into Kamuzu University of Health Sciences.
He, however, said growth requires resources and that the college has already outlined its plans to government for financial support.
Among others, the institution plans to build new infrastructure such as an administration block, a teaching hospital as well as venture into pharmaceutical manufacturing. It also plans to open a state-of-the-art funeral parlour.
In March this year, CoM set up a Covid-19 epidemiological response team comprising public health specialists, laboratory scientists and clinicians.