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Students your chance to take part in a Diabetic Foot Management Programme in Blantyre, Malawi

Pre/post registration students, your chance to take part in a Diabetic Foot Management Programme in Blantyre, Malawi


An exciting opportunity has arisen for a pre/post registration student from the College of Podiatry to help provide an academic/clinical programme in the management of diabetic foot disease. This exciting programme will be delivered in Blantyre, Malawi at the beginning of September 2019.

The HOPE Foundation Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow will fund two Fellows from the Faculty of Podiatric Medicine, and The College of Podiatry London will fund the 3rd member of the team, who will be a pre/post registration student.

Applications are invited by the College of Podiatry from pre/post registration students who may wish to participate in this programme.

Applicants should describe in no more than 500 words why they believe they are the most appropriate candidate to fulfil this role. 

Completed applications should be returned to The College of Podiatry by Friday 5th July 2019.
Email Feedback@cop.org.uk 

Applications will be judged by an independent panel and the successful candidate will be informed by the middle of July.

Plan of Activity

The 2/3-day programme will provide the clinician with the necessary tools to identify the clinical signs of peripheral neuropathy, peripheral arterial disease and structural deformity thereby allowing the early identification of limb and life-threatening diabetic foot disease. Following assessment, the clinician will be able to risk stratify the patient, implement appropriate management strategies and provide the necessary foot health education thereby potentially reducing the requirement for lower-limb amputation.


The close relationship between Scotland and Malawi can be traced back to the middle of the 18th Century when, in 1859, David Livingstone discovered this friendly African country.

In 1836, Livingstone commenced his medical studies and attended classes given by Members of the Faculty, the precursor to the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, at Anderson’s College (the forerunner of Strathclyde University). David Livingstone was admitted as a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow in in 1840. Livingstone, by now a missionary and physician, first arrived in Africa in 1841 and subsequently led two further expeditions between 1858 and 1864, and 1866 and 1873. Unfortunately, he died in April 1873 of Malaria at the age of 60. Blantyre the oldest city and the commercial capital in Malawi was named after Livingstone’s own birthplace in Lanarkshire, Scotland.

The links between Scotland and Malawi are still strong and the Scotland - Malawi Partnership established by Lord Jack McConnell in 2005 is a charitable organisation which fosters and coordinates activities between the two countries. Currently there are 200,000 Malawians and 100,000 Scots involved in the partnership, and at present over 800 organisations with active links in Malawi including the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow.


Health Care Provision

Health care in Malawi is developing however it is currently under resourced and the lack of trained personnel continue to hamper the provision of health care services. At present the Malawian population is estimated to be approximately 17 million and health care is provided by 600 physicians and surgeons and 975 medical assistants. There are no podiatrists practising in Malawi.


Diabetes – The Problem

Diabetes is a worldwide problem, and the number of adults living with diabetes has almost quadrupled since 1980 to 422 million and is expected to double by 2045. It is considered as one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality.

Data regarding the prevalence of diabetes in Sub Saharan Africa is sparse, however it is estimated 16 million patients present with diabetes. Additionally, this region presents with the highest proportion of deaths attributed to diabetes under the age 60 (77%), and the highest number of undiagnosed patients with diabetes (69.2%) of any International Diabetes Federation region.

The most accurate data representing the diabetic population in Malawi estimate the current prevalence to be between 3.9% and 5.6%, with a very small percentage receiving podiatric care.

Globally, healthcare spend on diabetes is expected to account for 11.6% of total health expenditure, however in Malawi it is estimated health expenditure per person with diabetes is $60 per year.

50% of all non-traumatic limb amputations are performed as a complication, secondary to diabetes, and worldwide a limb is amputated every 20 seconds.

The development of foot pathology, i.e. peripheral arterial disease, peripheral neuropathy and structural dysfunction, are important contributing factors to limb amputation. In Malawi this is further complicated by the socio-cultural factors such as walking bare foot, lack of knowledge and the economic status of the patient.

In line with the World Diabetes Day theme 2009 / 2013, this project will focus upon 'diabetes education and prevention' and early identification of diabetic foot disease. 



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