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Malawi doctor wins global award

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By Thabisile Kamwangala:

Often times, Malawian women get international recognition for their athletic abilities in netball and other fields. But Dr Mulinda Nyirenda is one of the Malawian women that are extending this international recognition into other non-sports fields such as medicine.

Nyirenda arrived at Chileka International Airport yesterday from the United States, where she received the Global Emergency Medicine Travel Award. The award is in recognition of service rendered towards the advancement of global emergency medicine by the Academy of Women in Academic Emergency Medicine and Global Medicine Academy.

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“It is an acknowledgment of what we, Malawians, not just myself but the team, have been able to achieve and how we have been able to offer emergency medicine services in a manner that is internationally acceptable,” Nyirenda said with a happy face.

Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda did not hide her joy at Nyirenda’s achievement.

“We are so proud of our daughter Dr Mulinda Nyirenda, who is our Chief Specialist at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital but is now seconded to Kamuzu University of Health Sciences (Kuhes),” she said.

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The minister challenged young professionals in the country, especially those that think that they cannot catch the international eye by working in Malawi.

“It does not matter where you are; it is about the commitment and passion that you have on your work that matters,” she said.

Kuhes Vice-Chancellor Professor Macpherson Mallewa was equally elated with Nyirenda’s achievement.

“I am delighted that this award has gone to a well deserving daughter of Malawi. And it comes at the right time when we, as Kuhes, are putting much emphasis on emergency medicine, speciality care and training,” Mallewa said.

Mallewa also disclosed that Kuhes had secured funding to build a state-of-the-art Centre of Excellence in Emergency Medicine, which will house high-tech equipment, including helicopter ambulance, to help health professionals “handle any type of emergency medicine needs”.

Queen Elizabeth Centre Hospital (Qech) Director Dr Samson Mndolo pointed out that Mulinda’s achievement on the international stage raises the profile of Qech and Kuhes.

“We, at Qech, don’t just deliver services but also training for young doctors in different specialties. This award goes to show the quality of doctors we have, [doctors] that are working with us,” he said.

In 2021, Mulinda Nyirenda also received the William Rutherford Award by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM), which recognises the inspiring work of one of the specialty’s “founding father”, William Rutherford.

The award is made to an individual (RCEM member) who has demonstrated evidence of excellence in emergency care or humanitarian activities within low- and middle-income countries or settings.

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