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You are here : Home / Stories / College of Medicine Pioneers First Undergraduate Dental Program

College of Medicine Pioneers First Undergraduate Dental Program

College of Medicine Pioneers First Undergraduate Dental Program

The Malawi College of Medicine (COM) will from August this year become the first higher learning institution in Malawi to be offering a Bachelor in Dental Surgery programme (BDS) following the finalisation of the dental department at the college’s campus in Blantyre.

The dental school has been established with funding from the Scottish government through the University of Glasgow under the £11m Scottish Government’s Malawi Development fund.

Speaking at a press briefing at Kamuzu Central Hospital where the Scottish government, through Glasgow University, donated 16 dental chairs and other dental equipment to the hospital’s dental department, Team Leader and Coordinator of Malawi Dental (MALDENT) Project, Dr. Peter Chimimba said establishment of the dental department at COM will go a long way in reducing the ratio of dentists to patients as at the moment the ratio stands at about 1 to 500, 000. Dr. Chimimba went on to say Malawi suffers a shortage of dentists as the country only has about 36 dentists against a population of 18 million.

Said Dr. Chimimba: “In 4 to 5 years Malawi will have very qualified dentists trained from within and outside. This will not only reduce the dentist to patient gap but also help in the formulation of policy issues, planning and prevention of diseases.”

Principal of the College of Medicine Dr. Mwapatsa Mipando said he was excited with the development and said the college was looking forward to producing locally trained dentists that will contribute to the timely treatment of dental patients and reduction of dental illnesses. He also said this matches with the college’s vision and mission.

Dr. Mipando went on to say once the BDS programme is rolled out, students will have to undergo internships and KCH was one of the hospitals identified for this activity.

Professor Jeremy Bagg, Head of the University of Glasgow’s Dental School, was thankful to the Scottish Government for its willingness to assist Malawi through the establishment of the dental school through the MALDENT project. Bagg also hailed the hardworking and team efforts portrayed by everyone involved in this project.

Speaking during the press briefing, Dr Jessie Mlotha-Namarika, the Head of the Dental Department at Kamuzu Central Hospital hailed the donation saying it was timely. She said the department had insufficient equipment to operate some dental functions which led to delay in assisting patients. She also said the refurbished clinic will be ideal for the upcoming BDS students who will do their internship at the hospital’s dental department.

The BDS programme will be for 5 years for those entering at year 1 and for 6 years for those entering at Foundation year. The first two years of the BDS programme will share teaching and instruction with the Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery programme already running at COM, after which dental students will specialize in their field of study. The first intake will be for the 2019 / 2020 academic year starting in August 2019 at both foundation year and year 1.