Poster Topical Area: Education & Teaching

Location: Auditorium

Poster Board Number: 157

P09-008 - Building clinical nutrition capacity in sub Saharan Africa: Experiences of developing a postgraduate diploma in Dietetics in Malawi

Sunday, Jun 10
8:00 AM – 6:00 PM


The aim of this paper is to describe the development and implementation of the dietetics program in Malawi (between 2013-2017) and its early outcomes.


A 20-month postgraduate diploma to train Registered Dietitians was developed at the Department of Human Nutrition and Health at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) in partnership with Tufts University and the College of Medicine, University of Malawi (COM). The curriculum was developed through referencing global standards of practice and curricula for training along with findings from a needs assessment. Partnerships built on the strengths of local and international institutions were relied upon throughout the process of development and implementation of the program. The course content lays emphasis on clinical training to fill the gap in clinical nutrition services in Malawi.


Five candidates have successfully completed training and passed their registration exam. The first cohort of Malawian dietitians will be employed by the Government of Malawi (Ministry of Health) through newly established Dietetic positions at central referral hospitals. Although the program is still in its infancy, notable achievements including nutrition screening of 526 individuals in communities, in/outpatient case management of over 200 patients, and 17 scholastic presentations delivered to 286 health professionals within 1200 hours of student supervised practice.


This program leveraged the strengths of multiple collaborators to accelerate implementation and garnered early successes. This program begins to address the professionalization of dietetics in Malawi, which includes the development of professional associations, credentialing requirements, codes of ethics and academic programs. Furthermore, the graduates of this program fill a critical gap in providing nutrition support services such as protocols on nutrition support delivery that did not exist previously. This approach of program development and implementation may be applicable to other developing countries with similar resource constraints as Malawi.

Funding Source: Support for this effort was provided by the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition which is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Malawi under grant ID OAA-L-10-00006/AID-612-LA-15-00002

CoAuthors: Bernadette Chimera, MD – College of Medicine, Malawi; Elizabeth Marino-Costello, MS, RDN, FAND – Friedman School, Tufts University; Molly Uebele, MS, RD – Friedman School, Tufts University; Alexander Kalimbira, PhD – Lilongwe University of Agriculture & Natural Sciences, Malawi; John Phuka, MD, PhD – College of Medicine, Malawi; Agnes Mwangwela, PhD – Lilongwe University of Agriculture & Natural Resources, Malawi; Shibani Ghosh, PhD – Friedman School, Tufts University; Lynne Ausman, DSc, RD – Friedman School, Tufts University

Sanele Nkomani

Supervising Dietitian
Friedman School, Tufts University; LUANAR, Malawi
Lilongwe, Lilongwe, Malawi