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Maldent Project – PhD Studentship




The College of Medicine and the University of Glasgow Dental School have received funding from the Scottish Government to establish Malawi’s first Dental School and to work under the leadership of the Ministry of Health to develop an Oral Health Policy for the country. The programme of work is known as the MalDent Project ( A core component of the policy strand of the work will focus on prevention of dental disease, with a particular emphasis on children.

1. PhD studentship

Funding is available to support a PhD project which will form an integral part of the Scottish Government-funded MalDent Project. The core objective of the PhD programme of work will be to develop potential models of prevention of oral disease in children that would be appropriate to the Malawian environment, particularly in rural areas. These outputs would inform work of the Oral Health Strategy Development Group being established within the Ministry of Health as part of the MalDent project.

2. Duration of the studentship.

The project will be funded for four years, subject to satisfactory performance of the postgraduate students at annual review.

3. Background information

The planned activity relating to the development of a child oral health improvement strategy would be based on the approaches recommended in the Promoting Oral Health in Africa manual (, published by the WHO in 2016. This recognises the importance of integrating oral health within the context of non-communicable disease (NCD) prevention and control and utilising holistic approaches that address common risk factors. The work would be based around the checklist for policy development and advocacy outlined in the WHO manual. This covers five main themes:

• Integrating oral health into strategic health programmes

• Integrating oral health care into primary health care (with a focus on oral health promotion /

disease prevention)

• Ensuring the provision of school-based oral health programmes

• Supporting community-based approaches to oral health

• Improving oral health data collection for planning, monitoring and evaluation

The programme of work will be undertaken in three phases:

Phase 1: this will involve a national population-based oral health survey of children in Malawi, with age groups selected following a review of relevant factors, including access issues. It is envisioned this would be undertaken in conjunction with the WHO Regional Office, with support from the Ministry of Health, education authorities and schools, primary health care managers and trained health workers.

Phase 2: a situation analysis will be performed, involving relevant stakeholders across the themes for policy development outlined above. This should help to identify potential interventions at the primary health care, school and community levels which would be relevant to the Malawian environment, recognising that different approaches may be appropriate for different regions and communities.

Phase 3: the final phase will involve disseminating the information collected to stakeholders via workshops to inform and help facilitate the development of an appropriate child oral health improvement strategy for Malawi. Thereafter, the team in Malawi could host a regional workshop to share knowledge and experience of such work across neighbouring countries.

4. Supervision and training

The PhD studentship will be jointly supervised by academic staff in the College of Medicine School of Public Health & Family Medicine and the Community Oral Health Research Group at the University of Glasgow Dental School.

Training in generic research skills will be included as part of the programme of work.

5. Desired skills and experience

A good degree (minimum of a 2:1/credit) relevant to health services / public health and/or social science. Those with a professional healthcare degree (eg MBBS) would also be eligible.

Candidates with a relevant Master’s degree or an equivalent professional qualification e.g. in public health, or research methods, are particularly encouraged to apply.

Interested persons should send an application enclosing their CV to to reach him on or before 1700Hrs on 20th September, 2019.


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