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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 only 2 physicians per 100,000 people, and the average life expectancy is 39 years. A high burden of HIV, malaria, TB and other infectious diseases straining 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

  • 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 … Continued

  • Mina H headshot

    Report from Malawi: Weathering a second wave—or tsunami—of COVID-19

      By Mina Hosseinipour, MD, MPH Officials announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Malawi on April 2, 2020. At UNC Project Malawi, we’d been working for a month to carefully review and prepare for the virus. We established COVID preventive procedures and clinical management guidelines and planning for staff and staff relatives. We … Continued

  • group of unc people in vietnam in front of sign

    NIH awards $25 million to UNC’s Global HIV Clinical Trials Unit

      The National Institutes of Health has awarded University of North Carolina’s Institute for Global Health & Infectious Diseases nearly $25 million over seven years to continue operating its Global HIV Clinical Trials Unit, or CTU. The new funding will support HIV treatment and prevention in adults, children and pregnant women at four research sites … Continued

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    Malawi-based team receives $500,000 to improve capacity for sickle cell care, research

      A team of researchers led by UNC Project-Malawi has received a one-year, $500,000 grant to build clinical and research capacity in Malawi to better diagnose and treat children with sickle cell disease. The funding is a joint award from the NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious … Continued