Our Alumni Community - where are they now?

March 09, 2021
In the month of February 2021, we distributed a questionnaire to all of our graduates and students due to graduate at the end of the current academic year.

The aim of this survey was to learn how many of our alumni remained working in the country in which they trained and how their careers have progressed. 

We had a near 100% response rate, whereby 136 of 138 graduates completed our questionnaire. Of those who responded, 96 were male, 39 were female and 1 preferred not to disclose. The age range spanned from 23 to 49, whereby the mean age was 30 years old. The year students graduated ranged from 2008 to those due to be graduates in 2021, and the modal year of graduation was 2017.


The professional breakdown of our respondents included 75 medical doctors, 12 nurses, 10 clinical officers, 19 physiotherapists, 17 pharmacists, 1 nutritionist, 1 health manager, and 1 biotechnologist. Fortunately, 127 out of 136 graduates were in current employment, of those working, 62% were working in the public sector, 21% in private industry, 2% had involvement in both, and 15% did not disclose. Of the nine graduates who were not in current employment, three were enrolled in further training. 


93% of graduates currently live in the country in which they trained with 123 graduates in Malawi and 3 graduates in Uganda.  Of those who left, 60% were located in other regions of Africa, spreading themselves between South Africa (3 graduates), Botswana (2 graduates) and Lesotho (1 graduate). The remaining 4 graduates outside of Africa were in the UK and United States of America, where most were undertaking further training.


The graduates outside of their country of training had moved for various reasons, including inability to find a job and moving to more attractive working conditions; five moved for post graduate training; and two moved to be with their families. However, all planned to return to Malawi, albeit at their own individual rates. Expected returns were between 2021-2027, two did not specify a year but explained it would be once they had completed specialist training, and one was unsure.  


In total, 30 respondents had started, completed, or were accepted to start further training. Of these, half had training in Malawi; a further 7 had training in Africa; 3 in the UK; 2 in the USA; 1 in Australia and 2 unspecified. With regards to funding, 18 were under scholarship. The most common scholarship listed was the Africa Centre of Excellence in Public Health and Herbal Medicine (ACEPHEM), others included PAN AFRICA, University of Pretoria Center for Human Rights, AO Alliance, UNC – a Malawi surgery initiative, HEAL Fellowship, NIHR Welcome Trust MSc fellowship, Mandela Rhodes Scholarship, Ministry of health scholarship, College of Anaesthesia Ireland, Australian awards and CDC scholarship. For those who were not on scholarship, funding methods included personal salaries and savings, involvement in business activities, and loans from the bank.


Approximately one third of our graduates were balancing other roles, 62% of these were voluntary, including work at Covid centres, taking on voluntary leadership and managerial roles in the clinical and non-clinical settings, and health promotional activities in their local communities.


Providing school fee support to children in the local community was the norm.  Despite only 37% of our graduates having children of their own, 75% were providing financial support to at least one child. The number of children dependent on their support ranged from 1 child to 10 children, whereby the modal number was 2. Moreover, 41% of our graduates were involved in philanthropic activities including the donation of medical devices, medications, food and clothes, providing school fees to orphans, improving access to mental and physical health care, and raising money for those in need.


Most heart-warmingly, 89% of our graduates were interested in contributing towards Medic to Medic initiatives, highlighting the strong community we have been able to grow.  We hope we can continue providing such support to health workers in training that Malawi, and its neighbouring countries, so desperately need. We are proud that Medic to Medic graduates have not been attracted to the higher salaries of western countries with 97% of graduates remaining in Africa and 93% remaining in the country in which they trained. 

Big thanks to Gabrielle Sanders, medical student at Kings College London for helping us put together, distribute and compile results of the 2021 Graduate Survey.