Ethics & Engagement across the Wellcome Trust Major Overseas Programmes

Deborah Nyirenda, 2019 GHBN Senior Fellow with MLW, Malawi


I am a Post-doctoral social scientist funded by the Global Health Bioethics Network. My research focuses on strengthening ethical community engagement/ public and patients involvement in medical research conducted in the global south. Prior to this post, I completed a PhD that focused on examining community engagement in Malawi. I hold a Masters Degree in International Public Health from Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UK which was funded by a competitive Scholarship award from Commonwealth. I have a strong background in social science research having worked for Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust for over 10 years in various mixed methods research projects.

Current research project:

Mawu-Athu- An investigation of approaches to enhance community engagement in global health research in low resource settings


Sangwani Salimu-Understanding community perceptions of typhoid fever and typhoid vaccine in Urban Blantyre

Getrude Banda-Exploring attitudes of research participants towards their roles and responsibilities in clinical research in Blantyre, Malawi

Wezzie Nyapigoti- Views of different research stakeholders about appropriate benefits and compensation for study participation.

Elvis Moyo- An investigation of field workers ethical dilemmas in medical research


Nyirenda D, Sariola S, Gooding K, Phiri M, Sambakunsi R, Moyo E, Bandawe C, Squire B, Desmond N. (2017) 'We are the eyes and ears of researchers and community members' Understanding the role of Community Advisory Groups to represent researchers and communities in Malawi. Developing World Bioethics Journal. 00:1-9. https://doi.org/10.1111/dewb.12163

McCallum A*, Nyirenda D*, Lora W, Khoo S, Sloan D, Mwandumba H, Desmond N, Davies G. (2016) Perceptions of Research Bronchoscopy in Malawian Adults with Pulmonary Tuberculosis: A Cross-sectional Study. PLoS ONE. 11(4):p.1-12. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0165734

Nyirenda D, Makawa T, Chapita G, Mdala C, Nkolokosa M, O'byrne T, Desmond N, Heyderman, R. (2016) Public engagement in Malawi through a health-talk radio programme ‘Umoyo nkukambirana’: A mixed methods evaluation. Public Understanding of Science. 22(2): p.229. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963662516656110

Nyirenda D, Gooding K, Lora W, Kumwenda M, McMorrow M, et al. (2018) Complexities and dilemmas in community consultation on the design of a research project logo in Malawi. PLoS ONE 13(10): e0205737. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0205737

Nyirenda D, Gooding K, Sambakunsi R et al. (2018) Strengthening ethical community engagement in contemporary Malawi [version 1; referees: 1 approved]. Wellcome Open Res 2018, 3:115

Israel-Ballard, K., Cohen, J., Mansen, K., Parker, M., Engmann, C., Kelley, M., Brooks, E., Chatzixiros, E., Clark, D., Grummer-Strawn, L., Hartmann, B., Kennedy, S., Kent, G., Mwangome, M., Nyirenda, D., Perrin, M.T., Picaud, J.-C., Reimers, P., Roest, J., Romero-Maldonado, S., Smith, J., Subrahmanian, P., Sunder-Plassmann, A., Weaver, G., Zambrano, P.A., (2019) Call to action for equitable access to human milk for vulnerable infants. Lancet Glob. Health 7, e1484–e1486. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(19)30402-4

Phiri M, Gooding K, Nyirenda D, Sambakunsi R, Kumwenda MK, Desmond N (2018) "Not just dogs, but rabid dogs": tensions and conflicts amongst research volunteers in Malawi. Glob Bioeth. 2018;29(1):65-80. doi:10.1080/11287462.2018.1509925

Gooding K, Makwinja R, Nyirenda D, Vincent R, Sambakunsi R. (2018) Using theories of change to design monitoring and evaluation of community engagement in research: experiences from a research institute in Malawi [version 1; referees: 3 approved]. Wellcome Open Res 2018, 3:8 doi:10.12688/wellcomeopenres.13790.1

Kumwenda M, Desmond N, Hart G, Choko A, Chipungu GA, Nyirenda D, et al. (2016) Treatment-Seeking for Tuberculosis-Suggestive Symptoms: A Reflection on the Role of Human Agency in the Context of Universal Health Coverage in Malawi. PLoS ONE. 11(10):p.eo165734. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0154103

Desmond N, Nyirenda D, Molyneux E, Mallewa M, Lalloo D, Heyderman R. (2013) Recognising and Treatment Seeking for Acute Bacterial Meningitis in Adults and Children in resource Poor Settings: A Qualitative Study. PLoS ONE.8(7):p1-7. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0068163

Best career advice you've received:

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead” Nelson Mandela

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