Exciting opportuny as paediatric intensivist in Malawi

Mercy James Centre, Blantyre, Malawi, AFRICA


The Mercy James Centre for Paediatric Surgery and Intensive Care (MJC) is seeking an enthusiastic paediatric intensivist. The position becomes vacant in December 2019, but an earlier start date would be considered.

Position Description

The intensivist will be responsible for the management of the patients in the 6-bed paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) and will provide support to the surgical team with management of the surgical high dependency unit (HDU). The HDU currently has 4 beds with renovations underway for 4 additional neonatal beds. This position will supervise the clinical officers and registrars working in the unit during the day and night shifts. There is a clinical fellow +/- an ACO in the unit daytime with night-time cover by a Paediatric Anaesthetic Clinical Officer. As the unit has only been open for one and a half years, there is still significant work to be done in training staff and establishing systems and practice. The job therefore is a mixture of clinical work, training and system development For the past 15 months the PICU has been run by two international intensivists, a fellow critical care and anaesthetic clinical officer. There is a commitment to maintain this model with two intensivists over the next 5-10 years as this model has been found to work well in the MJC.


The candidate would ideally stay for 1-3 years to ensure continuity in establishing the unit, although shorter periods would be considered. The intensivist will work with a Malawian doctor who is currently training in PICU in South Africa with plans to return to the MJC in early 2020 and a group of international intensivists who visit the unit on a recurring basis. The on-call rota is also supported by paediatric intensivists from the Blantyre Malaria Project and the paediatrics department.


The PICU admits approximately 30 patients a month, three quarters of whom have surgical conditions. All neonatal surgery in Malawi is performed at the MJC. The remaining patients have either medical conditions or cerebral malaria. During the rainy season, patients with
cerebral malaria are enrolled in a research study looking at ventilation for brain swelling. As the place of PICU in paediatrics in Malawi becomes more established, the number of patients with medical disorders is likely to increase. The wide variety of (tropical) diseases in Malawi and the often-delayed presentations of result in a relatively high proportion of
complicated and varied cases, makes the job challenging, interesting and rewarding.


The candidate should have completed training in PICU or Paediatric Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, hold a current international license and will be registered with the medical council of Malawi. He or she could be from a paediatric, anaesthetic or surgical background.

This post would suit either an experienced clinician or a younger doctor with an interest and some experience in global health.

Other desirable characteristics are:

  • Extensive clinical experience
  • Strong teaching skills
  • Excellent interpersonal/intercultural skills
  • Flexibility and ability to improvise
  • Good communication skills in English
  • Ability to work well in a multicultural, multi professional team
  • Previous experience abroad/in Africa
  • Resilience

Mercy James Centre and Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital

The Mercy James Centre for Paediatric Surgery and Intensive Care opened in July 2017. It is a 50-bed paediatric surgical hospital with 3 theatres, a 6-bed ICU and two 4-bed HDU’s (only 1 is currently operational). The unit is the national referral center for paediatric surgery and includes the country’s only PICU. The MJC is part of the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH), the academic teaching hospital of the College of Medicine, the only medical school in Malawi. The paediatric wards of QECH have approximately 300 inpatients in the general and specialized wards such as an oncology, orthopaedic, malnutrition ward and burns unit. The Mercy James Centre is a public facility supported by Malawi’s Ministry of Health, with supplementary financial support from several local and international donors.


Malawi provides a very welcoming environment to live and work for a doctor. Blantyre is the second largest city in Malawi. It is a friendly, safe city with shops, restaurants, sports facilities, international primary and secondary schools and is located within easy reach of several of the country’s tourist highlights including mountains, Lake Malawi and nature an game parks. It provides a lovely quality of life and opportunity for travel.

Primary costs covered

  • Cost of living stipend
  • Housing stipend
  • Reimbursement of country-specific vaccinations
  • Required visas and work permits
  • Round-trip transportation to Malawi
  • Medical insurance coverage

Interested and more information needed?

For more information about this position or to make an informal enquiry please contact Dr. Patricia Weir (weirpm@gmail.com) and copy in Donna Mataya (donna@raisingmalawi.org).

Formal applications should also be directed to Professor Eric Borgstein, Professor of Paediatric Surgery and Director of Mercy James Centre (eborg@me.com).

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