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1.  Postgraduate career intentions of medical students and recent graduates in Malawi: a qualitative interview study 
BMC Medical Education  2012;12:87.
In 2004, the Malawian Ministry of Health declared a human resource crisis and launched a six year Emergency Human Resources Programme. This included salary supplements for key health workers and a tripling of doctors in training. By 2010, the number of medical graduates had doubled and significantly more doctors were working in rural district hospitals. Yet there has been little research into the views of this next generation of doctors in Malawi, who are crucial to the continuing success of the programme. The aim of this study was to explore the factors influencing the career plans of medical students and recent graduates with regard to four policy-relevant aspects: emigration outside Malawi; working at district level; private sector employment and postgraduate specialisation.
Twelve semi-structured interviews were conducted with fourth year medical students and first year graduates, recruited through purposive and snowball sampling. Key informant interviews were also carried out with medical school faculty. Recordings were transcribed and analysed using a framework approach.
Opportunities for postgraduate training emerged as the most important factor in participants’ career choices, with specialisation seen as vital to career progression. All participants intended to work in Malawi in the long term, after a period of time outside the country. For nearly all participants, this was in the pursuit of postgraduate study rather than higher salaries. In general, medical students and young doctors were enthusiastic about working at district level, although this is curtailed by their desire for specialist training and frustration with resource shortages. There is currently little intention to move into the private sector.
Future resourcing of postgraduate training opportunities is crucial to preventing emigration as graduate numbers increase. The lesser importance put on salary by younger doctors may be an indicator of the success of salary supplements. In order to retain doctors at district levels for longer, consideration should be given to the introduction of general practice/family medicine as a specialty. Returning specialists should be encouraged to engage with younger colleagues as role models and mentors.
PMCID: PMC3480922  PMID: 22978475
Doctors; Medical students; Postgraduate education; Specialisation; Malawi; Rural health; Brain drain; Emigration
2.  Cross-Reactivity of Schistosoma mansoni Cytosolic Superoxide Dismutase, a Protective Vaccine Candidate, with Host Superoxide Dismutase and Identification of Parasite-Specific B Epitopes  
Infection and Immunity  2004;72(5):2635-2647.
Schistosoma mansoni, an intravascular parasite, has evolved a number of immune evasion mechanisms to establish itself in the host, such as antioxidant enzymes. Our laboratory has demonstrated that the highest levels of certain antioxidant enzymes are found in adult worms, which are the least susceptible to immune killing. Vaccination of mice with naked DNA constructs containing the gene encoding Cu/Zn cytosolic superoxide dismutase (SmCT-SOD) showed significant levels of protection compared to a control group, and our data demonstrate that the adult worms are a target of the immune response that confers resistance in SmCT-SOD DNA-vaccinated mice. Because SmCT-SOD shows significant identity with the human homologue, we evaluated the reactivity of anti-SmCT-SOD antibodies derived from SmCT-SOD-immunized mice and rabbits and from S. mansoni-infected individuals to human superoxide dismutase (hSOD) and SmCT-SOD parasite-specific peptides to assess the potential for autoimmune responses from immunization with the recombinant molecule. In addition, we evaluated the ability of various SmCT-SOD adjuvant-delivered immunizations to induce cross-reactive antibodies. Both mouse and rabbit antibodies generated against SmCT-SOD recognized the denatured form of hSOD. The same antibodies did not recognize nondenatured hSOD. Sera from infected individuals with different clinical forms of schistosomiasis recognized SmCT-SOD but not hSOD. Antibodies from mice immunized with different SmCT-SOD-containing formulations of both DNA and protein were able to recognize SmCT-SOD-derived peptides but not soluble hSOD. All together, these findings serve as a basis for developing a subunit vaccine against schistosomiasis.
PMCID: PMC387882  PMID: 15102772

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