Ethics & Engagement across the Wellcome Trust Major Overseas Programmes

Featured Project: The challenges of achieving informed consent among paediatric research participants in hospital-based research in urban Malawi

Neema Toto is a 2013 Global Health Bioethics Bursary Fellow. Mitsunge Gondwe took over the project from Neema in 2017, and is a 2017 Global Health Bioethics Bursary Fellow.


Mitsunge Gondwe: BSc in Nursing and Masters of Science in Child Health Nursing. She worked as Senior Paediatric Nursing Officer for 6 years with the Ministry of Health in Malawi. Currently, Mitsunge is working as ASPIRE Project Coordinator under the Behaviour and Health group at Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust, Clinical research Programme. Her role in the project is to coordinate implementation of an intervention study at primary health facilities to deliver a proven primary health package for early recognition, treatment and appropriate referral of severely ill children acceptable and ready for implementation across Malawi. She is interested in improving child health through conducting child-related research and promoting the utilization of evidence based practices in child health programs.


Neema Toto joined the Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme (MLW) as a research nurse in 2003 and became Nurse Manager in 2006, overseeing the clinical research services. After 2 years, her role was changed to Clinical Manager overseeing both research nurses and clinicians. In 2013, Neema started heading the MLW Clinical Trials-Research Governance Unit, supporting researchers and their teams in research quality control.

Through working with MLW, Neema has developed a strong interest in Clinical research and Bioethics. In July 2013, she completed her studies and graduated with a MSc in Clinical Trials from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. 

Project Title: The challenges of achieving informed consent among paediatric research participants in hospital based research in urban Malawi

The informed consent process remains a contentious issue in health research in resource limited settings. No research work has been done in Malawi to assess the understanding of participants on the informed consent process in different study contexts. This prospective project explores the challenges arising in obtaining informed consent in Paediatric observational and interventional research in general and acute/emergency hospital settings at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi.

In-depth interviews will be conducted to assess guardian understanding of study information, to explore factors that may influence guardian understanding, and to explore guardian views on what constitutes good research practice around informed consent. Focus group discussions will be used to assess challenges faced by research staff who obtain the informed consent.

It is envisaged that the project will contribute to the strengthening of the practical application and quality of consent locally and to the global research society.

Comment by Neema Mtunthama on November 14, 2014 at 8:01

Comment by Michael Parker on February 2, 2017 at 9:04

Welcome to the team Mitsunge! I'm looking forward to meeting you. Best wishes. Mike

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