The College of Medicine (COM) says it is making remarkable progress in the establishment of a dental school which is set to be the first ever institution for training dentists in the country.
Principal for the college, Dr. Mwapasa Mipando, disclosed this on Wednesday, saying the initiative is being funded by the Scottish Government through its University of Glasgow.
He was speaking when the Scottish Minister for European Migration and International Development, Ben Macpherson visited College of Medicine – Lilongwe Campus, to appreciate progress on the school project.
“We have been developing the curriculum and have already bought part of the equipment for the school. Actual training of dentists is going to start next year with initial enrollment of 15 students,” he said.
Dr. Mipando said the school is going to lead to an increase in the number of dentists and improve provision of dental care services in the country.
He said the country has been training its dentists outside the country, adding that currently, there are only 36 dentists against the country’s estimated population of 17 million people.
“The majority of these 36 are practicing in private medical facilities. This has created a shortage in public hospitals which is depriving Malawians of access to dental care because most of them cannot afford to pay for the services in private hospitals,” he said.
Mipando further indicated that the Scottish Government is supporting formulation of a national dental policy.
In his remarks, the Scottish Minister said he was impressed with progress being made on the dental school project.
He hailed the partnership between COM and the University of Glasgow, saying it is of mutual benefit to the two institutions as it is leading to exchange of ideas and experience.