Malawi and Glasgow healthcare project addresses shared global challenges.
The Scottish Government today announced its support for clinical research into inflammatory and cardiac diseases in Malawi and Glasgow communities.
International Development Minister Alasdair Allan confirmed the government will contribute £1 million over five years, which will be match funded, to help set up three new laboratories at the College of Medicine in Blantyre, Malawi. This will create a mutually beneficial Blantyre-Blantyre comparison, and is believed to be a unique new study between two such countries.
The £2 million project delivered by the University of Glasgow and College of Medicine, follows an increase in the number of Malawians with non-communicable diseases such as cardiac disease, hypertension and arthritis. As a joint funded venture, the project has also secured £500,000 from the World Bank and will benefit from Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Centre’s continuing link with the College of Medicine.
The results of the research conducted will be used to improve healthcare in Malawi, and will inform research into the unexplained causes of poor health and low life expectancy in Glasgow – known as the ‘Glasgow Effect’. The University of Glasgow is considered a centre of excellence in the study of this clinical challenge amongst the local population, and offered to share this expertise with Malawi’s only public medical school in establishing research projects in this field.
Speaking ahead of the Scottish Parliament debate on the International Development Strategy, International Development Minister Alasdair Allan said:
“This project builds on our firm and long-standing friendship between Scotland and Malawi that stems back more than 150 years. It also offers a fantastic opportunity to embed the UN Global Goals in our international development effort, working in partnership to tackle shared global challenges in areas such as health and wellbeing.
“Contributing to this clinical research is in line with our International Development Strategy, that I published on Dec 21. It will be delivered jointly, in the spirit of collaboration, by academics and clinicians from the University of Glasgow and the College of Medicine and will yield results that will benefit both countries.
“Our support for this project underlines the Scottish Government’s determination to be a good global citizen, committed to playing our part to tackle health inequalities at home in Scotland and in some of the world’s poorest, most vulnerable communities.”
Prof Iain McInnes, Director of the Institute of Infection Immunity and Inflammation, Prof Paul Garside, Chair in Basic Immunology and Prof Andy Waters, Director of the Wellcome Centre for Molecular Parisitology, all University of Glasgow, welcomed the announcement.
Prof McInnes, on behalf of the researchers, said:
“This represents a remarkable fusion of expertise in Glasgow and Blantyre, Malawi that will allow a transformation in the way that diseases are recognised, treated and studied in Malawi.
“In a true spirit of partnership the new knowledge we gain in Malawi will also feedback here in Glasgow to improve health care in the Scottish population.”
Professor Stephen Gordon, Director, the Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme said:
“The Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome (MLW) Programme has conducted research as an affiliate of the College of Medicine for over 20 years.
“Our research is focused on prevention of deaths due to infectious diseases, both by vaccine and treatment strategies and by reduction of transmission of infection in the community.
“We look forward to ongoing Malawi-Scotland collaboration in research and training and the role that MLW can play in assisting this to flourish.”
The Scottish Government published its international development strategy – “Global Citizenship: Scotland’s International Development Strategy” on 21 December 2016: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2016/12/4633