The Scotland Malawi Mental Health Education Project (SMMHEP) implements the standards of International Development Projects in having valid aims and measurable outcomes, and being mindful of cultural issues, cost effectiveness and sustainability.
The project provides support to Dr Felix Kauye in delivering the undergraduate medical student teaching course at the College of Medicine (CoM) in Blantyre. Volunteer psychiatrists travel to Malawi to teach theoretical and clinical skills in psychiatry to medical students and post graduate psychiatry trainees. This is done in one two week block to teach Intellectual Disability and CAMHS and four six week blocks to teach the rest of the curriculum. The project has developed a new undergraduate curriculum, utilising a wide variety of teaching materials and methods, and an examination process. Evaluation of the teaching suggests that it meets the standard of a Scottish university. Approvals from the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych), NHS Education Scotland, local trusts and postgraduate deaneries allow higher trainees in psychiatry to receive approval towards training for their volunteer experience. With the support of the RCPsych and Oxford University Press the project has supplied text books to CoM and ZMH.
In response to requests from staff at ZMH SMMHEP also provides up to date equipment and training for electro-convulsive treatment (ECT). Two nurses from Malawi came over to Scotland in April 2012 and were trained in the Management of Violence and Aggression. They in turn, are rolling out a training programme for the same for their colleagues in Malawi.
SMMHEP is fully committed to "training the trainers". To this end, we are supporting the three post graduate psychiatry trainees and are supervising them to take over the undergraduate teaching. We hope, in time, there will be more post graduate students and they can be taught by Malawian psychiatrists once they gain sufficient experience in the field.
In the future, we are hoping to set up a comprehensive e-learning database and a community training programme to train health workers and community nurses to recognise common mental disorders and substance use disorders.
The organisational activities of SMMHEP occur in both Malawi and Scotland.