COLLEGE OF MEDICINE - The first decade
An interview with Professor John Chiphangwi W Mulwafu
Maternal and Child Health Advisor to Botswana government. The other was to teachat Muhimbili Medical Scfroit in Dar-es. Salaam.In the sameyear, however, Dr. Banda (former President of Malawi) acceptedthe reportthat had beenpreparedto starta medical school. I was part of the team known as the Tripartite Commissionthat preparedthe report and I led the Malawi
This interview was conducted on April 10th, 2000. At the time of this interview, Professor Chiphangwi mentioned
delegationin lhe team. I took on the biggerresponsibilityand
how tired he felt and how much he longed for retirernent. lVe are deeply saddenedthat illness has overtaken his plans
C o l l e g eo f M e d i c i n e .
for rctirement and will not allow him to enjoy to the full this milestone of ten years of the College of Medicine. We acknowledge his personal vision and enormous contribution
challengeof starling a completely new institution, the Malawi
WNl: Did you have any problems of starting a medical school in lVlalawi? JC: Yes and there were several.The greatestproblem was that of finance. This is the reason why the medical school was establishedin phases.The first phaseinvolved the sending'of studentsabroadwhile some constructionwork was being done a l Q u e e n E l i z a b e t hC e n l r a l H o s p i f a la n d M a h a ( m aG h a n d i Campus.Two oiher phaseswere to tbllow later.Remember,the College of Medicine relies quite heav,ilyon funding from the Malawi Government,funding which has beenvery erratic.The other major prcblem was identifying staff membersespecially teachingstaff. This rerrains a real problem up to date and Basic M e d i c a lS c i e n c ehs a v cs u f l e r e dt h e m o s t . WM: How has the College performed so far? JC: I look at the developmentstaking place in tlre Collage right now with a greatsenseol pride.We are now al a stagewere we a r e p l a n n i n gf o r p r o p e rp o s r - g r a d u attrea i n i n gi n t h i s C o l l e g e . Our undergradirateprogramme has been a great successand t h e r ei s n o d o u b t a h o u tt h a t .A l o t o l ' i n s t i t u t i o n lsi k e J o h n Hopk-insUniversity,University of North Carolina in the United
WM: What is your family background? JC: I come from Chonde. village, Traditional Authority Mthinamanja in Mulanje. This is where I was.born in l Tth D e c e m b e r1 9 3 6 .I c o n r el ' r o ma f a m i l v o l ' l h r e e s o n sa n d o n e slster.
States of America; Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, E d i n b u r g hU n i v e r s i t yi n t h e U n i t e dK i n g d o mj.u s t t o m e n t i o na f'ew,have shown interestin assistingns to developour postgraduateprogramrne. WM: How do you look at the future of the Cottege? JC: Briefly I can say the Collegeof Medicinehasa very bright
WM: And briefly what is your education background? future and what we need to do is to simply work togetherin I did rny primary school in several places in .Mulanje, orderto achievethe aims of the College.It is my beliefthat the Chiradzuluand Blantyre. I thengot selcctedto do rny secondary College will nortonly trainlbutretain doctorsin Malawi. education atZomba Catholic ScconclarySchool. I dicl my Alevels at Dedza SecontlarySchool. I thcn went to clo my medical studiesat AbcrcleenUnivclsity in Scotland.Having
Wakisa Mulwafu was anlong the llrst group of graduatesto be fully trainedin Malawi.
worked in governmentol' Malawi, I ploccedeclto do my postgraduatetraining at MakcrereUniversity irr Uganda.I came back from Uganda with MMed in Obsteticsand Gynaecology i n t h ey e a r 1 9 7 3 . How did you get involved with the College of lVledicine?
JC: Upon retirernentfrom the Ministry of Health in 1986 and having served for twenty years in government, I was offered two jobs both of which were well fundedby the UnitedNation Development Programme (UNDP). One was to work as 5
Library under consruction Malawi Medical Joumal