Department of Public Health
School of Public Health and Family Medicine


The mission of the department of Public Health is to advance efforts that benefit the health of populations in Malawi and the region through quality educational programs, research, public service, and policy development. It is responsible for coordination and delivery of undergraduate teaching in public health to medical and allied health sciences students, and postgraduate education for both masters and PhD students.

Currently, the department faculty has research expertise in the following thematic areas:

  • Nutrition and early child development
  • HIV (treatment and implantation science)
  • Malaria (prevention, treatment and operational research)
  • Reproductive and adolescent health

Role in Teaching

Our undergraduate programmes are designed to prepare students for service and leadership in the Malawian health system.

  • Public Health for MBBS programme

Public health courses are offered across all the 5 years of training. The aim is to expose students to the concepts and practice of epidemiology, biostatistics, environmental health, nutrition, primary health care, evidence based medicine including research methods.

  • Public Health for Health Management, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, and Medical Laboratory sciences programmes

Public health courses are offered mainly in the 3rd and 4th years of the program. The aim is to expose students to the concepts and practice of epidemiology, biostatistics, and research methods.

The department hosts the Master of Public Health program (MPH) and the Master of Science in Epidemiology (MEP). These programs share a number of modules and are also supported by faculty from other departments.

There is a strong PhD program which registers students in a number of areas of public health. This program targets students with career goals to attain the highest university academic degree in public health research, teaching or leadership.

Master of Public Health (MPH)

This MPH is comparable with MPH courses run elsewhere within the continent and internationally. Throughout the world, expertise at postgraduate level is required to run health services at national and district level. Graduates with an MPH degree are in an ideal position to use this professional qualification within health service management teams in the public and private sectors including the Ministry of Health, local and international Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs) the Christian Health Association of Malawi (CHAM) institutions and United Nations organizations. Some MPH graduates go onto research and teaching posts.


Visit the MPH quick overview page.

Visit the MPH page

Master of Science in Epidemiology

This program focuses on the study of the factors determining and influencing the frequency and distribution of disease, injury, and other health-related events and their causes in a defined human population for the purpose of establishing programs to prevent and control their development and spread. It is the cornerstone of public health, and shapes policy decisions and evidence-based practice by identifying risk factors for disease and targets for preventive healthcare. Graduates usually continue to have a career in research (research institutions, pharmaceutical companies), academics (colleges, universities), government (disease control programs), health-oriented NGO’s and international agencies (e.g. CDC, World Health Organization)


Visit the MEP quick overview page.

Visit the MEP page

Program Staff

Dr Charles Mangani
Dr Charles ManganiHead of Department

Dr Charles Mangani is currently a Lecturer in Public Health at the School of Public health and Family Medicine, College of Medicine, Malawi, the Deputy Head of Public Health Department and post-doctoral fellow with Michigan State University (MSU). He was trained in medicine and public health.

His research focus is on childhood malnutrition with particular emphasis on interactions of nutrition and infection, promotion of healthy child growth, and malaria epidemiology and control.

Professor Ken Maleta
Professor Ken MaletaProfessor of Public Health

Kenneth Maleta holds qualifications in general medicine and epidemiology and is currently Professor of Public Health at the School of Public health and Family Medicine, College of Medicine, Malawi. Previously, Dr. Maleta has held several positions in the University of Malawi’s College of Medicine including Deputy Chair of the Division of Community Health, Dean for Postgraduate Studies and Research and Principal for the College of Medicine.
Dr Maleta’s research interests have concentrated on epidemiological research on prevention and treatment of undernutrition. Major interest has been the epidemiology, prevention and treatment of maternal and childhood undernutrition focusing on food based interventions. Related interests have been the understanding of childhood growth and development, body composition and nutrition –infection interactions. Dr Maleta also has professional interest in HIV, health systems and medical education.

Professor Adamson S. Muula
Professor Adamson S. MuulaProfessor in Public Health and Epidemiology

Adamson Muula is currently Professor of Public Health and Epidemiology. He earned a medical degree from the University of Malawi (after studying at the Flinders University of South Australia and University of Malawi), a Master of Public Health from Loma Linda University (California) and a PhD in Epidemiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prof Muula conducts health services research, adolescent sexual and reproductive health research and key populations (HIV) research).

Prof William Stones
Prof William StonesProfessor in Public Health

Prof Stones is an academic obstetrician-gynaecologist with a global and public health and implementation science interests. After graduating at University College London he undertook O&G specialist training and doctoral research in ovarian vascular biology. During 15 years at the University of Southampton he developed a programme of reproductive health research in low income countries with DFID support. He moved to Nairobi as Chair of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at Aga Khan University in 2007 where he established a new MMed programme and a research site for the ‘Intergrowth-21st’ consortium defining international standards for fetal and newborn growth. During 2013-16 he held the Ann Gloag Chair of Global Health Implementation at the University of St Andrews, Scotland working in partnership with College of Medicine.
At College of Medicine he undertakes doctoral supervision, MPH and MMed project supervision and teaching and provides clinical services at QECH. His research interests are in adolescent health and wellbeing through the ‘Global Early Adolescent Study’ and in maternal health and quality improvement. Internationally he serves on the FIGO Safe Motherhood and Newborn Health Committee.

Dr John Phuka
Dr John PhukaDean of the School of Public Health and Family Medicine, Senior Lecturer in Public Health

I have an over 20-year relationship with this wonderful University and College, beginning in early 1990s as a bachelor of science student at Chancellor College before becoming a medical student at College of Medicine, then as a proud alumna, thereafter a doctoral student under joint-supervision from the College and University of Tampere with research implemented in Lungwena, later as a postdoctoral research fellow leading a Maternal, Newborn and Child Health studies in Mangochi and finally joining as a member of the faculty in 2012 deployed to Lilongwe Campus where I was appointed the Coordinator for the Department of Public Health.

Prof Kamija Phiri
Prof Kamija PhiriProfessor in Public Health,
Kamija Phiri, a professor in Clinical Epidemiology, leads the School of Public Health and Family Medicine. He is an alumni of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and also the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in the UK where he did his postgraduate studies. He is a recipient for several awards, with the most recent being the 2012 Merle A. Sandee Health Leadership award. Prof Phiri directs the Training & Research Unit of Excellence (TRUE) established in 2009 with field sites in Chikhwawa and Zomba districts in southern Malawi. His research interests are in the control of malaria in children and pregnant women. He is currently leading a multi-centre study (across Malawi, Kenya & Uganda) on the efficacy of intermittent preventive antimalarial therapy in the post-dischargemanagement of children with severe anaemia. He has published widely including in the Lancet Infectious Diseases and the New England Journal of Medicine in the area of malaria and anaemia. He is currently supported by a research team of two postdocs and 8 PhD students. He is an honorary lecturer with University of Liverpool and a visiting lecturer at the University of Zambia.

Our Program Partners