Heathy Lives Malawi

PI – Professor Mia Crampin

Co-I’s: Prof Victor MwapasaDr Charles MwansamboDr Robert StewartDr Effie ChipetaProf Moffat NyirendaProf Deborah LawlorProf Debby Bogaert,  Dr Marko KeracProf Iain McInnes

FunderWellcome Trust


Summary: Malawi is amongst the least developed and poorest countries world-wide. Adults, and particularly children, in Malawi still experience a lot of infections and increasingly suffer long-term illness such as depression, high blood pressure, diabetes and lung disease. Studies that explore the causes and consequences of long-term illness require long-term follow-up. This project will build on existing work in urban/rural Malawi communities including 110,000 people, to conduct repeat adult health surveys and to nest a birth-cohort of 8,000 families in those communities.


The two study communities are different; rural subsistence farming/fishing and rapidly-growing urban. This will allow us to study and understand how socioeconomic, psychological, biological, nutritional, and infectious factors affect families’ health and wellbeing and to explore the persistence of ill-health and associated challenges between generations. Blood and other samples will be stored for future research.  The resource will be made widely available to researchers to ensure maximum public health impact.

The aim of the Healthy lives Malawi Project is to create an intergenerational longitudinal population study of chronic conditions in rural and urban Malawi, leveraging substantial existing research infrastructure, to address the lack of high-quality longitudinal-data on chronic conditions in low income sub-Saharan Africa (LI-SSA).  Our prospective cohort data will provide age-specific incidence and survival estimates for multiple chronic conditions, and improve understanding of determinants (socioeconomic, psychological, nutritional, microbial and inflammatory) of health-related trajectories over the life-course, from poor pregnancy outcomes to multimorbidity in adulthood. Understanding how early-life exposures interact with later-life factors to mediate disease risk will indicate when and how to intervene effectively. 

Wellcome LPS support will enable;

  1. Longitudinal tracking of 110,000 urban/ rural individuals.
  2. Repeat biomarker and clinical assessments of chronic conditions.
  3. Establish novel, effective migrancy tracking within/between rural/urban settings.
  4. Recruit/follow 7,500 nested families (grandparents-parents-siblings-pregnancy-birth-cohort);pregnancy, early-life and intergenerational effects.
  5. Health facility linkage; low-cost longitudinal health-care/outcomes data. This resource will be shared with the global research community to best-practice guidelines.

This resource will be shared with the global research community to best-practice guidelines.

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