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Environment and Social Management Plan (Africa Center for Public Health and Herbal Medicine (CEPHEM))

Africa Center for Public Health and Herbal Medicine (CEPHEM)

 Team Leader: Professor Adamson Muula

Contact Email Address:

Deputy Team Leader: Assoc Prof Fanuel Lampiao

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This is a public disclosure of the Plan

1. Introduction

The African region is faced with a double burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases. Diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, HIV and AIDS and neglected tropical diseases (NTD) as well cardiovascular diseases and diabetes cause significant morbidity and mortality on the content. Further, Africa is urbanizing quickly to the extent that the proportion of countries with 20% or more of their population living in urban areas is increasing. Urban areas are suffering from communicable diseases such as those related to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) as well as non-communicable diseases associated with smoking, alcohol, stress, obesity and illicit drug use. Disparities between the wealthy and the poor contribute to the deteriorating health status of communities.

Natural products (e.g. herbs) are a source of many medicines even though there is increased prominence of synthetic medicines. The growing antimicrobial resistance globally also calls for alternative effective therapies. While these herbal remedies may be used, often, the dosage and toxicity remain undetermined for many natural remedies. Heavy metal contamination for instance, is a real concern so is drug-herbal interactions that may negatively affect the health of users.

The objective of the African Centre of Excellence for Public Health and Herbal Medicine is to improve human public health through the development of human capacity in public health practice and research in urban areas. Further we aim to develop the human capacity for herbal medicine in practice, research, identification and industrialization. Such human capacity develop will further contribute to the training and education of themselves, others, engage in multi-disciplinary endeavors of teaching and research and establish linkages or networks with colleagues in the region and elsewhere as well as rural communities from which many herbs are obtained. .


The CEPHEM aims are to build capacity through training at the MSc, MMED (Master in Medicine) and MPhil/PhD levels in Public Health and Herbal Medicine for the Eastern and Southern Africa. The center will establish basic and applied research programs for African scientists in collaboration with relevant researchers from outside the region to engage in high-impact (research) projects in urban public health on the one hand and herbal medicine on the other.


The project will engage in the following:

(i) Train at least 70 MSc/MPhil/MMED students in urban public health/herbal medicine

(ii) Train 26 PhD students in fields that are relevant to public health (e.g. adolescent health, health disparities) and herbal medicine

(iii)  Conduct research in public health practice

(iv) Build the capacity of partner research and academic institutions in urban public health and herbal medicine

(v) Procure two project vehicles, relevant laboratory equipment and other project equipment

(vi) Construct the center’s premises for office space, teaching and meeting venues

(vii) Conduct short term training workshops, support publications in peer-reviewed journals,

(viii) Implement faculty and student exchange,

(ix) Network with industry to commercialize products with the potential for the market


Total cost of the project is estimated at $7,320,750 (Seven Million, Three Hundred and Twenty Thousand, Seven Hundred and Fifty USD).


(i) The project activities have minimal environmental impact

(ii) There will be no displacement of human or large animal population as a result of the proposed building/construction. The Malawi College of Medicine will provide two hectares of land for the construction of the proposed ACE building. This land is already available on the main campus of the college.

(iii) travel to meetings, field work and the conferences will contribute to fossil fuel combustion products. However, this will not be more than what is usual for land and air travel.


The management and coordination of environment issues Malawi is under the Department of Environmental Affairs in the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change. The Constitution of Malawi (Republic of Malawi 1994; as amended) recognizes that responsible environmental management can make an important contribution towards achieving sustainable development, improved standards of living and conservation of natural resources. The Constitution states that the environment of Malawi should be managed in order to:

  • prevent the degradation of the environment;
  • provide a healthy living and working environment for the people;
  • accord full recognition of the rights of future generations by means of environmental protection; and
  • conserve and enhance the biological diversity.


Further, the government of Malawi in 1994 developed the National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP) through broad public participation and provides the framework for integrating environmental protection and management in all national development programmes with the view to achieving sustainable socio-economic development. The NEAP is often used as a reference document to guide planners, developers and development partners. Its key objectives include the following:

  • To document and analyze all major environmental issues and identify measures to alleviate them;
  • To promote sustainable use of natural resources; and
  • To develop an environmental protection and management plan.

The College of Medicine is headed by a Principal as the Chief Academic and Administrative Officer (Dr Mwapatsa Mipando). He is support by the College Registrar (Mr Margret Longwe) and the College Finance Office (Mr Samson Kalulu is Acting). The College of Medicine is a public institution constituted by an Act of Parliament (University of Malawi Act, as amended in 1998). The main campus of the College of Medicine is located in Blantyre on land allocated by the government.


  1. a) Road infrastructure

The College of Medicine main campus on which the CEPHEM will be located is on 1 Mahatma Gandhi Road. It is located on the other side of Ginnery Corner in Chichiri, Blantyre, Malawi. The site is 3 kilometers from Blantyre main commercial district. There exists paved and gravel roads with the College’s campus. There are two main entrances to the campus. During construction of the center, only one of the entrances will be used and appropriate road signs and speed calming measures will be introduced.


(b) Water supply

The College of Medicine obtains piped water from Blantyre Water Board. The Board draws its water from Shire River, the outlet of Lake Malawi which drains into the Zambezi. The college has also two large elevated water tanks for student and office use. The water for construction will be obtained from the piped water as supplied by Blantyre Water Board. The College of Medicine may receive water from Blantyre Water Board via bowsers when there is water shortage. Such water may not be used for construction as it is only provided during water scarcity arising whether there is a burst pipe or significant challenges at the water treatment plants.


(c) Storm and Waste Water Management

There are multiple gutters and drains to direct storm water drainage into the environment. Further waste water from the building will be connected to the institutes water systems.





The CEPHEM is expected to have minimal negative environmental impact. The main environmental impact will arise from our harvesting of leaves, barks, roots and other plant materials. The construction that will go on has potential to have dust released, noise levels to increase and plants uprooted.



The harvesting of plants materials will be done. We will ensure that we do not harvest to the extent that the parent plant dies or is significantly harmed. We will be working with the National Botanical Gardens and the Forestry Research Institute of Malawi (FRIM), both of whom conduct botanical research and are actively involved in plant preservation and breeding. Advice from FRIM and the Botanical Gardens will be sought from time to time to guide us as to the safe planting harvesting technique. Further, the Botanical Gardens and Forestry Research Institute often propagate medicinal plants. We will also conduct assessments/monitoring as to the center’s contribution to environmental harm and when known immediately institute remedial measures.

In order to reduce dust, there will be sprinkling of water on the access roads. Further, plant and vehicles which do not make significant amounts of noise will be preferred.


During the construction and operation phases of the CEPHEM the following measures will be implemented because of their potential adverse impact on the environment:

(a) Sanitation facilities

Waste water management system for the construction site will be connected to the campus waste water systems/waste water stabilization ponds where final effluent is discharged for treatment before being released to the environment.

(b) General waste disposal

Waste will inevitably be generated during construction. These will include: wood, cement bags, electric waste, plumbing waste, roofing wastes, quarry, boxes, and plastics. The contractors will be responsible for the disposal of these substances.


Laboratory wastes including animal tissues/carcasses will be disposed off according to standard operating procedures which will be adapted for our laboratories..


(c) Health and safety services

Workers and research staff who may be exposed to dust, fumes and other hazards, these will be provided with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as air mask, gloves, googles and boots. There will be restriction of entry to labs, construction sites by unauthorized people.

The building will have the necessary firefighting equipment. Regular fire drills will be done. Fire assembly point will be created. There will be adequate poster reminders of measures to prevent fires.

The College of Medicine’s policy is to contract out hygiene and sanitation services.


Travel and Transport

We will travel to conferences using motor vehicle and air travels. Both these contribute to fossil fuel products. We will ensure that we combine several trips into one such that repeated travel is minimized.




The following will be done:

(ii) The Deputy Team leader will ensure that there is monitoring, evaluation and reporting to center management

(iii) Monitoring and Evaluation by the Director of Quality Assurance of the college

(iii) A monitoring and evaluation framework will be created

(iii) The Center Director will report to the World Bank as required.






The Deputy Team Leader, Dr Fanuel Lampiao will be the lead for environmental and social management of the Center of Excellence at the University of Malawi-College of Medicine. A three person team will be meeting to assess, provide oversight and report on risks and mitigation measures relating to the environment and society. In the matrix below, we have presented our current estimate of environmental and social risk and what we intend to deal with those threats.


Table 1: Specific Social and Environmental Risk association with CEPHEM


1.    New construction/Refurbishments of buildings

  • Excavation impacts and soil erosion
  • Increase sediment loads in receiving waters
  • Increase in dust and noise from demolition and/or construction
  • Construction waste
YES Air Quality(a)    Keep demolition debris in controlled area and spray with water mist to reduce debris dust(b)   Suppress dust during pneumatic drilling/wall destruction by ongoing water spraying and/or installing dust screen enclosures at site

(c)    There will be no open burning of construction / waste material at the site


(d)   Construction noise will be limited to restricted times agreed to in the permit

(e)   During operations the engine covers of generators, air compressors and other powered mechanical equipment should be closed, and equipment placed as far away from residential areas as possible

Waste Management

(f)     Waste collection and disposal pathways and sites will be identified for all major waste types expected from demolition and construction activities.

(g)    Mineral construction and demolition wastes will be separated from general refuse, organic, liquid and chemical wastes by on-site sorting and stored in appropriate containers.

(h)   Construction waste will be collected and disposed properly by licensed collectors

(i)      The records of waste disposal will be maintained as proof for proper management as designed.


This will be done in liaison with the University/college guidelines and memorandum of understanding with the contractor
2.    Handling / management of medical wastel  Clinical waste, sharps, pharmaceutical products (cytotoxic and hazardous chemical waste), radioactive waste, organic domestic waste, non-organic domestic wastel  On site or  √off-site disposal of medical waste Yes Infrastructure for medical waste management(a)    In compliance with national regulations the contractor will insure that newly constructed and/or rehabilitated health care facilities include sufficient infrastructure for medical waste handling and disposal; this includes and not limited to:

  • Special facilities for segregated healthcare waste (including soiled instruments “sharps”, and human tissue or fluids) from other waste disposal:
    1. Clinical waste: yellow bags  and containers
    2. Sharps – Special puncture resistant containers/boxes
    3. Domestic waste (non-organic): black bags and containers
  • Appropriate storage facilities for medical waste are in place; and

If the activity includes facility-based treatment, appropriate disposal options are in place and operational

Disposal of biological and clinical waste will be done in accordance with waste management guidelines that spell out clinical waste disposal, decontamination of containers and hypodermic needles.
3.Herbal and plant materials Yes The center will collect or facilitate the collection of herbal/plan materials for research and medicinal development. This has potential to result in harmful deforestation and extinction of tree and other plant species One of our key partner institutions is the Forestry Institute of Malawi which is also affiliated to the National Botanic Gardens. We will ensure that we will not remove all leaves, especially roots or barks of plants to the extent that the tree dies. We will work will with the FRIM to ensure that communities receive seedling of the trees or other plant species which we will be harvesting.
4 Intellectual Property Rights Yes We plan to work with traditional/community herbalists to guide us and even supply us with the different medicinal herbs that they use. There may be concerns that once they have shared with us their knowledge of herbs, any gains that may be accrued to society may exclude them We will be guided by the countries regulations of intellectual property as well as the University of Malawi draft intellectual property guidelines.
5. Research among vulnerable populations Yes In our public health research, there is  possibility that we may have to recruit vulnerable, minority groups and marginalized populations (e.g. orphans, sex workers). Research among this group must be sensitive to potential for exploitation. We will be submitting all our research protocols to the College of Medicine Research and Ethics Committee (COMREC)  for ethics review and approval. Further some potentially sensitive research will have community advisory boards which will include representatives or guardians from the community from which we will draw study participants.

February 2016