Exciting Paediatric Intensivist Engagement in Malawi

July 24, 2018


Mercy James Centre, Blantyre, Malawi, AFRICA


The Mercy James Centre for Paediatric Surgery and Intensive Care (MJC) is seeking an enthusiastic paediatric intensivist from December 2018 onwards.

Position Description

The intensivist will be responsible for the management of patients in MJC’s 6-bed paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) and will support the surgical team with management of the surgical high dependency unit (HDU). The HDU is currently 4 beds with renovations underway for 4 additional neonatal beds. This position will supervise the registrars and anaesthetic clinical officers who work in the unit during the day and night shifts. As the unit has been open for only one year, there is still significant work to be done in training staff and establishing systems and practice.


The candidate would ideally stay for 1-3 years to ensure continuity in establishing the unit, although shorter periods will be considered. This position will join a second intensivist who is committed long- term, and other intensivists who contribute to the on-call rota. Long term, the position will be joined by a Malawian doctor who is currently training in PICU in South Africa with plans to return to the MJC in early 2020.


The PICU admits approximately 30 patients per month – three quarters of whom have surgical conditions. All neonatal surgery in Malawi is performed at 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 a medical disorder is likely to increase. The wide variety of (tropical) diseases in Malawi and the often-delayed presentations result in a relatively high proportion of complicated and varied cases, which make the job challenging, interesting and rewarding.


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

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 unit with 3 theatres, a 6-bed ICU and two 4-bed HDUs. The unit is the national referral center for paediatric surgery and includes the country’s only PICU. The MJC is part of Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, the academic teaching hospital of the College of Medicine, the only medical school in Malawi. The paediatric wards of Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital have approximately 300 inpatients in the general and specialized wards such as an oncology, orthopaedic, malnutrition ward and a burns unit. The Mercy James Centre is a public facility supported by Malawi’s Ministry of Health, with supplementary financial support from several 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, international schools and is located within easy reach of several of the country’s tourist highlights including mountains, Lake Malawi and game parks.

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 either: SSAI board member Dr. Gunnar Bentsen (gbentsen@ous-hf.no), Dr Job Calis (job.calis@gmail.com), or Dr Patricia Weir (weirpm@gmail.com).

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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