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MLW hosts workshop on “Doing the right thing: A workshop on Research Integrity and Publication Ethics”

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INTOn 7 June 2017, 19 MLW research staff and students attended a half-day workshop on Research Integrity and Publication Ethics, by external facilitators Dr. Liz Wager and Anke Rohwer. The workshop explored research integrity around publication including plagiarism, redundant publications, and competing interests around authorship such as guest authorships, by discussing practical scenarios.

Participants completed a survey ahead of the workshop that asked their opinion on fictional scenarios around research integrity concepts. The groups’ survey responses were then compared to those from nearly 200 Cochrane researchers during the workshop, and used to discuss research integrity concepts, and understand how they could handle such situations.

Participants found the workshop valuable. Malaria Group Research Intern Alinane Munyenyembe said, “On my part, I was surprised to learn that a lot of protocol objectives are either changed or omitted in publications after the study is completed. I want to make sure to follow my protocol strictly in the future and to be honest in my publications.”

“Through this workshop, I have gained an awareness of research integrity issues such as plagiarism, conflicts of interest and how researchers must commit to high quality research. I would recommend the workshop to other researchers,” said Chimwemwe Phiri, Behavior and Health Group Research Associate.

As part of the extension of the Core training programme, MLW aims to offer more similar workshops and short course opportunities in the future. So join the next research integrity workshop to learn and enhance your research ethics skills.


ASPIRE project donates emergency medical equipment and supplies to 11 health centres in Blantyre and Chikhwawa districts

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Equipment Donation StoryIn an effort to reduce child mortality, Achieving Sustainable Primary ImProvement and Engagement in Health (ASPIRE) project at Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme (MLW) has donated emergency medical equipment and supplies worth K11 million to 11 health centres in Blantyre and Chikhwawa district where the project is implementing its interventions.


Speaking at the function which took place at Ndirande Health Centre, the project coordinator, Mtisunge Gondwe said that the project saw the gap in terms of emergency treatment at the facilities.


“Looking at the gap which was there when a child has presented with emergency signs, there was insufficient emergency equipment and supplies to assist the children. The majority of sick children were referred to QECH in an unstable condition. As a consequence, some children could die on the way while others would reach Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) in a worse condition. With the equipment and supplies, children presenting with emergency signs will be stabilized at the health centre whilst waiting for an ambulance to pick them to the referring facility, QECH. Since the start of the project in 2012, the time which patients wait to be seen by a medical practitioner has drastically been reduced. “Patients who are critically ill are able to see a doctor in less than 30 minutes and if they have priority signs, they are able to see a doctor within an hour,” she said.


In expressing joy and gratitude to what the project has done, Blantyre District Health Officer, Dr Medson Matchaya said that the equipment has come at the right time considering the challenges that exist in addressing emergency cases.


“In medicine, there is a terminology called golden hour, this is the time when the parent has recognized some signs and symptoms of illness in the child to the time the child is seen by a doctor. This period of time is very critical as it determines the outcome of the condition of the child. So with these valuable equipment, this golden hour will tremendously improve as all the critically ill children will be assisted in time since all emergency equipment are available at the facility.”


The Chipatala robot project (so named after the traffic lights system) is being implemented in 8 health centres of Blantyre and 2 health centres and 1 district hospital in Chikhwawa and aims at ensuring that sick children are categorized according to the severity of their illness instead of being assisted on a first come first seen basis. It targets children between the ages of 0-14 years presenting at facilities.


Among the items that have been donated to the health centres include; oxygen concentrators, suction machines, pulse oximeters, nebulizer machines, thermometers, glucometers, feeding tubes, oxygen delivering tubes, drug trolleys and weighing scales. All these are vital and standard in ensuring that health workers can handle a patient whose condition deteriorates.


Advancing statistical skills using R within Malawi - by and with MLW Malaria group members

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R StoryAs part of the WHO-WMO Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) Project, the Ministry of Health conducted a five day R-training course from 6th to 10th March 2017 sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The training was facilitated by James Chirombo, an MLW Malaria group PhD candidate in statistics based at Lancaster University, and Lucia Fernandez Montoya from the WHO head office in Geneva. 


Held at the Innovation Hub within University of Malawi's Polytechnic, the training was attended by over 20 participants, including three members of MLW Malaria group (Kamunkhwala Gausi, Donnie Mategula and Latif Ndeketa) and delegates from Ministry of Health District Health Offices, Central Monitoring and Evaluation Division (CMED), World Health Organization Malawi country office and The Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services.

R is an open source programming language and software environment for statistical computing and graphics that is supported by the R Foundation for Statistical Computing. The R language is widely used among statisticians and data miners for developing statistical software and data analysis.

The training aimed to increase capacity in the Ministry of Health and other collaborating institutions for analyzing and integrating climate and health data in R. The content of the training included an introduction to R-studio environment, descriptive statistics, plotting, data cleaning and exploring the association between disease and climate seasonality. The specific goal of the training was to analyze the seasonality of the climate in relation to the most important diseases in the country by district to serve as the basis for the development of district-targeted Health Advisories.

The facilitators encouraged participants to share their work experience and knowledge and helped make the practical exercises easy and relevant to all. The trainees were also introduced and added to a chat website called Slack where participants share R code and assist each other in decoding errors encountered in R.

Commenting on the value of the training, Kamunkhwala, an MSc student in Biostatistics statistics from Chancellor College, currently doing her MSc thesis project with MLW, said “The course content was just right for an introduction to R and the facilitators did a great job to explain the content and encourage interaction. The Slack website is a great community where I can always go to whenever I am stuck. I found the course really valuable”.