Behaviour and Health

  • Strategic research questions
    1. How do emergent home-based medical technologies contribute to engagement with health and prevention?
    2. Can we improve response to severe illness through linked social interventions at primary and community level?
    3. How can we optimise ethical practice and community engagement across the MLW programme through research and evaluation?
    Cross-cutting sub-themes:
    1. How does acceptability affect health and research engagement and what are the requisites to promote empirical acceptability across different interventions? (Lead on acceptability: Kate Gooding)
    2. How do gender and masculinity affect treatment seeking behaviour? (Lead on masculinity: Moses Kumwenda)
  • Strategic areas:
      • Home-based technologies are increasingly empowering patients in self-care and prevention.
      • Late presentation at tertiary impacts on disease outcome for adults and children.
      • Bioethics of practice & effective community engagement are increasingly important in global research.
      • Acceptability is a multi-dimensional concept and affects access and engagement across different research and intervention settings.
      • Male engagement in research, interventions and healthcare is suboptimal across disease categories.
  • Strategic areas:

    1a. Understand social and ethical dimensions, including social harms, of introducing HIV self-testing in key andgeneral populations and couples.
    1b. Explore concepts of ‘patient-hood’, risk, and responsibility as ‘biological citizens’ through access to home-based technologies.
    2a. Develop and measure the impact of community- and primary health service-based interventions to improve recognition of and response to severe illness 
    2b. Explore key social determinants of engagement in health interventions. 
    3a. Improve medical research practice through research in bioethics & community engagement. 
    3b. Evaluate the impact of science communication activities. 


    4a. Examine the concept of ‘acceptability’ and links to principles of equity, ethics, human rights and people-centred care.
    4b. Explore the practical application of these concepts in designing and assessing health services and interventions, linked to strategic programme areas 1 and 2. 5a.  Address issues around masculinity and gender as a factor impacting on access to and uptake of healthcare.  
    5b. Explore the impact of gender on engagement with new biomedical intervention models.
  •  Recent publications:
    1. Kumwenda, M, Desmond, N, Hart, G, Choko, A, Chipungu, G A, Nyirenda, D, Shand, T, Corbett, EL, Chikovore, J. (2016) Treatment-Seeking for Tuberculosis-Suggestive Symptoms: A Reflection on the Role of Human Agency in the Context of Universal Health Coverage in Malawi. PlosOne.
    2. Nyirenda, D, Chipasula, T, Chapita, G, O’Byrne, T, Heyderman, R. Desmond, N. (2016) Public engagement in Malawi through a pilot health-talk radio programme ‘Umoyo nkukambirana’: A mixed methods evaluation. Public Understanding of Science.
    3. Ardrey, J, Desmond, N, Tolhurst, R, Mortimer, K. (2016) The cooking and pneumonia study (CAPS) in Malawi: A nested pilot of Photovoice participatory research methodology. PlosOne.
    4. Desmond, N. (2015) Engaging with risk in non-western settings, Health Risk and Society Journal, Invited Editorial.
    5. Sambakunsi, R, Kumwenda, M, Choko, A, Corbett, EL, Desmond, N. (2015) ‘Whose failure counts?’ A critical reflection on definitions of failure for community health volunteers providing HIV self-testing in a community based HIV/TB intervention study in urban Malawi. Anthropology & Medicine.
    Recent grants (2015)Wellcome Trust International Engagement Award - £30,000; CDC Investigating vaccine acceptability and hesitancy in response to inactivated influenza vaccine $283,000; Meningitis Research Foundation Triage and treatment, training and engagement: A package for sustainable healthcare improvement in Malawi’s primary health clinics £678,332.
  • goodingKate Gooding
    Postdoctoral research associate

    Kate Gooding work focuses on community engagement with research, research ethics, acceptability of health interventions, and health seeking behaviour. She also works with Science Communication on monitoring and evaluation. Kate’s background includes work on health and international development policy, research and evaluation, in universities, donors, NGOs and as a consultant. Kate has a PhD from Leeds University on research by NGOs in Malawi, an MPhil in Development Studies from the Institute of Development Studies, Sussex University, and a BA in Geography from Oxford University. Kate is deputy head of the Behaviour and Health group.

    nyirendaDeborah Nyirenda
    PhD Student

    Deborah Nyirenda is a social scientist currently pursuing a PhD with University of Liverpool and University of Malawi, College of Medicine joint PhD Program. Her doctoral research is funded by a Scholarship award from Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust to investigate the purpose, relevance and benefits of community engagement in health research. She holds a Masters Degree in International Public Health which was funded by a Scholarship award from Commonwealth. Her career goal is to become a research leader and strengthen academic research within the fields of community engagement, bioethics and social science.

    gondweMtisunge Gondwe
    Projector Coordinator

    Mtisunge holds a BSc in Nursing and Masters of Science in Child Health Nursing. She has worked as Senior Paediatric Nursing Officer for 6 years with Ministry of Health in Malawi. Currently, she is working as ASPIRE Project Coordinator under Behaviour and Health group. Her role in the project is to coordinate implementation of an intervention at primary health facilities to improve patient pathways to care. Her long term goal is to improve child health through conducting child-related research and to promote utilization of evidence based practices in child health programs.

    kayiraLusungu Kayira
    Junior Research Assistant

    Lusungu Kayira is a qualitative Junior Research Assistant working on the Self-Testing Africa (STAR) project. She has a degree in Social Science (Social Work) from the Catholic University of Malawi, and a Postgraduate diploma from the United Nations University Gender Equality Studies Training Programme. She has also been trained in Youth Volunteerism by the African Union. Lusungu has five years’ experience of working in child protection and gender equality in Malawi, and she has been a youth ambassador in ending girl-child marriages through mentorship in urban and rural Malawi. She aspires to become a research leader in the fields of health and gender.

    samboMwiza Sambo
    Junior Research Assistant/Youth Champion for HIV prevention among young key populations

    Mwiza Sambo is a Social Science Junior Research Assistant at MLW, under the Self -Testing Africa study (STAR). He is one of eight young Africans awarded a grant as a youth champion for HIV prevention among young key populations by the International Aids Society, from February 2017. He has been involved in conducting qualitative research about HIV self-testing in both general and key populations at high risk of HIV infection.His long term goal is to develop as an academic and be an expert in behaviour and health research.

    c phiriChimwemwe Phiri
    Research Scientist

    Chimwemwe is a social scientist with a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology. She joined MLW in 2015 to lead the evaluation of a Theatre for Development community intervention with the Behaviour and Health group. Before joining MLW she was a graduate attaché at the British Institute in Eastern Africa, Nairobi assisting on various projects covering the social sciences. Her career goal is to become a leading African anthropologist with internationally recognised expertise, particularly in utilizing visual methods to address public health needs. In the longer term, she aims to strengthen academic research within the fields of visual and medical anthropology.

    mkwindaVincent Kingstone Mkwinda
    Field Worker / Junior Research Assistant

    Vincent is an upcoming health researcher and holds a Diploma in Journalism obtained at The Polytechnic, University of Malawi. Has two years’ working experience, and joined MLW in 2015. He assisted in the evaluation of the Theatre for Development community intervention with the Behaviour and Health group. Vincent is now working with the ASPIRE project to assist implementation of an intervention study at primary health facilities to improve patient pathways to care.

    kumwendaMoses Kumwenda
    PhD Student

    Moses Kumwenda is a PhD Student at the College of Medicine under the University of Malawi. He is currently finalising his PhD in Medical Anthropology, which is jointly supervised by Dr. Nicola Desmond (Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust) and Dr. Alister Munthali (Centre for Social Research, Chancellor College). His work examines the long-term impacts of HIV-self-testing amongst individuals living in established heterosexual relationships.  Moses’ long-term ambition is to contribute towards understanding the interface between masculinity and healthcare, examining social impacts linked to biomedical interventions and new biomedical technologies and developing contextually relevant health interventions using participatory methods.

    sibandeWakumanya Sibande
    Junior Research Assistant

    Wakumanya is an upcoming health researcher with two years of experience working in community mobilisation and engagement in Malawian rural and urban communities. Currently he carries out the role of junior researcher in the Behaviour and Health group, under an HIV self-testing study where he is responsible for community and public engagement and liaison. He is a trained Social Scientist with an undergraduate degree obtained from the Catholic University of Malawi in 2015. Wakumanya aspires to contribute in carrying out evidence based research in areas of human health behaviour, illness and treatment seeking on high burden diseases in Sub-Saharan Africa.
    mangochiHelen Mangochi
    Global Health Bioethics Network Fellow

    Helen is a senior research nurse at the Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust. She is experienced in both clinical and observation trials. Helen holds a Bachelors degree in Public Health and her major interest is improving research skills, especially for understanding ethical issues in research. Recently Helen was awarded a grant from the Global Health Bioethics Network (GHBN) to conduct an empirical study on assent in paediatric research. Helen likes working with people from different cultural and social background while respecting their beliefs and norms.

    phiriMackwellings Phiri
    Junior Research Assistant  
    Global Health Bioethics Network (GHBN) Fellow

    Mackwellings Phiri work has focused on understanding and improving community engagement through qualitative research. In 2015, he conducted a Wellcome Trust funded project on trust and the role of community volunteers in health research. He is now working on another Wellcome Trust (Global Health Bioethics Network) funded study about data sharing, which explores research stakeholders’ perspectives about research studies sharing participants’ non-anonymised data. Mackwellings is studying for a Bachelors in Public Health. His long-term career goal is capacity to independently and competently conduct health research, backed by theoretical and practical knowledge.