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Malawi Bibliographic Medical Research Database

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Physical address: National Organisation of Nurses and Midwives, Area 13, Lilongwe, Malawi

Postal address: Box 31045, Lilongwe, Malawi

Phone: +265 999 768519
Phone: +265999295053
Fax: +265 175 1584
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CREAMS Limited is a health research support firm (Company Registration No. 11750 under the Companies Act No. 19 of 1984 of the Government of Malawi).

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Mission Statement

Our mission is to fill the gaps in health research information flow and training in Malawi.

Malawian National Bibliographic Database of Medical Research

The bibliographic project of CREAMS called Malawi National Bibliographic Database of Medical Research (BDMR) is a compilation of at least 3000 records of health related research ever conducted in Malawi from a contribution of over 6000 authors. This is a unique database that for the first time collates health research that took place in Malawi into a single archive. Access to the database will benefit scholars, health care givers, relevant government ministries, non-governmental organisations, policy makers, community, donors, funders and any other interested parties. Just like any database that relies on published information the DBMR equally suffers "publication bias" in that unpublished research ever conducted in Malawi will unlikely be included in the database.

Database Parameters
At the outset, the bibliographers were faced with the question, "What constitutes Malawian medical research?" After an examination of preliminary bibliographic records, it was decided to include all literature making reference to:

  • Medical research performed on subject groups within the territory of Malawi, including research on refugee groups.
  • Medical research performed within Malawi, whether or not the researchers were Malawian nationals.
  • Multi-national medical research that included subject groups based in Malawi.
  • Professional medical service and work in hospitals and clinics in Malawi.
  • The Malawian nursing and dental professions.
  • Malawian national health policy, administration, systems, technology, equipment and finance.
  • The history and development of medicine in Malawi.
  • Medical education and the profession in Malawi.
  • Sociological, cultural and psychological aspects of challenges facing Malawian medical practice.
  • The impact of Malawian traditional healers on institutionalised, modern medicine in the country.

Excluded from the database are a multitude of medical literature references to Malawi, such as clinical reports and articles on the tropical diseases of international tourists returning home after swimming in Lake Malawi, for example.

Database Structure
Rather than impose an external hierarchical structure of topics on the database, the bibliographers allowed the literature to uncover its own structure and hierarchy, which might be described as producing a 'snapshot' of the current state of medical and health research in Malawi. The following breakdown of references is the basis of the hierarchy and consequent arrangement of the database:

  • HIV/AIDS accounts for 33% of the bibliographic records
  • Malaria is the next largest category with 12.5%.
  • Another 12.5% is accounted for by the combined co-infection group of Tuberculosis, Pneumonia, Meningitis and Hepatitis, of which Tuberculosis alone contributed 80%.
  • A further 7.5% results from a combination of the infections of parasitic worms and protozoans (Schistosomiasis, Onchocerciasis etc); tropically-prevalent cancers (Burkitt's Lymphoma and Hepatoma); Leprosy; diseases of contaminated natural resources (Typhoid, Cholera etc) and the diseases of malnutrition (Kwashiorkor, Xerophthalmia etc).
  • The remaining 35% of all references comprises the balance of pathological conditions; surgery; nursing and dentistry; maternal and child health; psychiatry and psychology; and public health, medical education and medical history references.

The Database 'Snapshot'
The 'snapshot' of major health issues facing the medical profession in Malawi today, as manifested by the database, can be summarised as the continuation of the plagues of insect-borne and parasitic tropical diseases, together with those diseases associated with poverty through contamination, lack of sanitation and malnutrition, plus the superimposition over the last two decades of the compound HIV/AIDS epidemic and its major opportunist 'killer' co-infections. Medical science and research programs and national health policy makers in Malawi need to face, and come to terms with, not only the health epidemics of the population, but to deal with these within the socio-economic condition of the nation and the epidemic lack of medical professionals and general health workers in the country. The BDMR contains research articles responding to this multi-disciplinary picture.

Accessing the database records
From 30 May 2012 to 30 November 2012 the access to the database is free for all users. However each user has to register by entering the "register" part of the CREAMS website. A registered user can browse the database through the "search" option. This option provides a drop down menu for research categories. Alternatively users can search by drop down menu of authors. Linking the category and authors is not necessary as it does not strengthen the search. If a list of collaborating institutions is provided on the website the user can search with this option by copying and pasting the name of the relevant institution in the search function.

From 1 December 2012 all users will be requested to pay an annual fee before they can access the records in the database.


on 17 Oct 2015

 A second MoH-CREAMS meeting take place in Lilongwe! on 12 June 2013

 12 March 2013 INASP Creams - New!

African Institute of Biomedical Science and Technology (AiBST) visit CREAMS in Malawi

A team of from AiBST in Zimbabwe led by its Director, Professor Collen Masimirembwa visited CREAMS in Malawi. The aim of the visit was to establish linkage in human identification using DNA technology between AiBST and institutions in Malawi.

To read more about AiBST click here

Monash University (RSA) and CREAMS start joint training

From 1 July 2014 Monash University of South Africa will jointly provide training with CREAMS in Malawi. Trainees will be able to receive certificates of attendance issued by the University upon completion of courses like study designs.

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Dec 18, 2011

The National Commission of Science and Technology of the Republic of Malawi announces the release of the National Health Research Agenda.

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Dec 08, 2011

CREAMS Medical Research Database Guiding Notes

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