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wide-angle group shot of Malawi staff in front of new annex
malawi outline map

Flagship site, global model

In its first 25 years, UNC Project-Malawi has made an enormous impact on the standard of clinical care and on health policy in Malawi and far beyond, including our work in HIV prevention, malaria, cancer and more.


More than twenty years ago, faculty from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill were invited by the Malawian government to help the country develop treatment protocols for sexually transmitted infections. UNC has been working in Malawi ever since.

In partnership with the Malawi Ministry of Health, the University established UNC Project−Malawi, a research, care and training program in the capital city of Lilongwe in 1999.

Like much of sub-Saharan Africa, Malawi faces significant health care-related challenges. Malawi has 0.05 physicians per 1,000 people (or 50 physicians per 100,000 people), and the average life expectancy is 72.71 years. A high burden of HIV, malaria, TB and other infectious diseases strain the country’s limited healthcare infrastructure.

“UNC Project-Malawi is the embodiment of our research, teaching and service mission and a shining light of Carolina’s work around the world.”
Former UNC Chancellor Carol Folt, visiting Lilongwe for the opening of our new annex in 2018

UNC Project-Malawi has grown from a dedicated staff of three working out of a closet with an annual budget of $30,000 to a vibrant and dynamic institution with a research lab and clinics. We employ 400 local health professionals and staff and boast over $15 million in annual support from multiple premier funding agencies.

Our team serves every major underserved population in Malawi and tackles a range of clinical and public health problems through research, training and patient care that have saved innumerable lives and transformed global public health policy. Our work here includes HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections, internal medicine, malaria and other infectious diseases, oncology, pathology, obstetrics and gynecology, surgery, burn prevention and treatment, pediatrics, radiology, occupational therapy, nutrition, environmental sciences, geography, rural development, and radiology.

Keeping a focus on training Malawian professionals, we offer two residency programs in surgery and ob/gyn.

Stories from UNC Project-Malawi

  • TMvalo-appointed-commissioner

    Mvalo Appointed Commissioner for Oxygen Security for Lancet Global Health

    Tisu Mvalo, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics and in-country pediatric director of UNC Project Malawi, has been appointed Lancet Global Health Commissioner for Oxygen Security. Medical oxygen security refers broadly to all the policy, economic, infrastructure, technology, supply chain, logistics, clinical guidelines and health workforce required to ensure that pulse oximetry and medical oxygen therapy are routinely … Read more

  • Matthew Painschab Headshot_heme-malignancy-board

    UNC Project Malawi, Baylor Global Hope and Kamuzu Central Hospital Form Hematological Malignancy Board

    Hematological malignancies, including leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma, are cancers that affect the blood, bone marrow, and lymphatic system. In Malawi, these cancers account for a significant proportion of cancer cases, and their treatment requires a multidisciplinary approach. To answer this need, UNC Project Malawi, Baylor Global Hope and Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) have collaborated to … Read more

  • FridaySaidi-Awards

    Friday Saidi Receives Scientific Achievement Awards

    Friday Saidi, MBBS, MMED, is first author of two papers published in 2021, that received Scientific Achievement Awards at UNC Malawi. The papers include: Term gravid uterus in a congenital umbilical hernia: a case report, published in the Journal of Medical Case Reports. Contributing IGHID authors include: Maganizo Chagomerana, PhD, Lameck Chinula, MD, and Jennifer Tang, MD, MSCR … Read more

  • three headshorts

    NIH grant expands capacity to train emerging cancer researchers in Malawi

      A five-year training grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute expands the capacity of UNC’s Institute for Global Health & Infectious Diseases and Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center to train the next generation of cancer researchers in Malawi, Africa. The Malawi Cancer Outcomes Research Program, or M-CORP, includes funding for advanced degree … Read more