The curriculum conference took place on 27 – 29 September 2017. It was an extremely positive and successful event held in the Conference Centre of Club Makokola, Mangochi:
After opening remarks from the College of Medicine Principal, the conference started with a Guest of Honour Speech by the Permanent Secretary of the Malawian Ministry of Health, which set the context for the next three days of work:
Over the course of the conference, there were multiple presentations from members of the Dental Association of Malawi, College of Medicine and from Jeremy Bagg, as well as discussion groups. The three members of the Curriculum Task Force established by the Dental Association of Malawi (Dr Peter Chimimba, Dr Jessie Mlotha-Namarika and Dr Wiston Byson Mukiwa) all presented aspects of the draft curriculum that they had developed:
The discussion group sessions also generated some very valuable ideas and allowed the members from different organisations to get to know one another:
The key outcomes relating to the establishment of a BDS curriculum were as follows:
- The excellent engagement of the Dental Association of Malawi, which had produced a draft curriculum for discussion, provided a valuable head start.
- The modern approaches to development and delivery of dental curricula which were presented by Jeremy Bagg were enthusiastically embraced by the Dental Association of Malawi.
- It became clear that much of the excellent MB BS curriculum that is delivered in Years 1-3 would be suitable for a BDS programme.
- It was agreed that with a joint approach between the College of Medicine Education Unit (led by Dr Emma Thompson), the Dental Association of Malawi and Glasgow Dental School, a modern BDS curriculum, that would be closely integrated with the MB BS curriculum during Years 1-3, could be developed for presentation to the University of Malawi’s Senate for approval.
- It was agreed that the dental programme would be based within the Faculty of Medicine under leadership of its Dean, Professor Nyengo Mkandawire.
- Engagement with a senior official from the Medical Council of Malawi permitted good progress to be made around professional regulation in the context of the proposed BDS curriculum.
- The value of a visit to Glasgow Dental School by a small delegation of key stakeholders from Malawi was identified, to demonstrate the principles and processes involved in delivering a modern dental curriculum to the standards of a professional regulatory body, such as the UK General Dental Council or the Medical Council of Malawi.
In addition to the academic and clinical content of the curriculum, there was also discussion about staffing, infrastructure requirements, consumables and international collaborations. These are complex areas which are challenging in both the short- and mid-term, requiring intense efforts moving forward.
At the end of the three days, a tremendous amount of progress had been made, with some very clear actions for all stakeholders to pursue.