The maternal mortality rate in Malawi is among the highest in the world at 675 per 100,000 live births, compared to the rate of 5 per 100,000 in the United States. The population of Malawi is just above 16 million and 53% live below the poverty line. In addition, there are only 2 physicians and 38 nurses per 100,000 people in Malawi. A 2010 assessment of emergency obstetric and neonatal care demonstrated that only 2% of all basic emergency obstetric and neonatal care sites and about 48% of the comprehensive emergency obstetric and newborn care sites are fully functional.
Texas Children's and Baylor have been working in Malawi through BIPAI since 2005. BIPAI owns and operates a Clinical Centre of Excellence located on the grounds of Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH), the main referral/tertiary hospital for the central region of Malawi. The hospital has 500 beds and serves approximately 5.5 million people annually. The Department of OB/GYN at KCH conducts approximately 3,000 deliveries per year. Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine faculty were integral in the development of the first residency program in Obstetrics and Gynecology in Malawi. The first class of residents graduate from the program in 2017.
With one of the highest maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality rates in the world, there was no formal OB/GYN residency training program in Malawi; and there were only 11 OB/GYNs in the entire country of 16 million people. Prior to the start of the residency training program, all postgraduate trainees in OB/GYN had to leave Malawi to obtain their specialty training. Texas Children's and Baylor Department of OB/GYN have partnered with the Government of Malawi, The University of Malawi College of Medicine, and other international partners to implement the first Malawian postgraduate training program in OB/GYN.
Texas Children's and Baylor have full-time US OB/GYN faculty based in Malawi. The Malawi-based Texas Children's and Baylor faculty support the implementation of the Malawi residency curriculum, provide direct obstetric and gynecologic care, teach and train local healthcare providers, and supervise U.S. OB/GYN residents and fellows rotating through the program. Our partners include the Malawi Ministry of Health, University of Malawi College of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine Children’s Foundation - Malawi, University of North Carolina Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Government of Norway and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.
The program has three key goals:
- Education: In partnership with the Government of Malawi, implement sustainable and scalable education programs to train Malawian and US healthcare providers in best practices in OB/GYN, including OB/GYN specialists, OB/GYN residents, clinical officers, medical students, midwives, nurses, and medical assistants.
- Care and Treatment and Health System Strengthening (HSS): Increase access to quality OB/GYN care and support the improvement of maternal and child health service delivery within the Malawian healthcare system to ensure that women and children are able to live healthy and productive lives.
- Research: Utilize research to gain knowledge of existing healthcare issues and guide implementation of collaborative research programs designed to improve maternal-child healthcare in Malawi.