phd fellow

Chitsanzo Mafuta


University of Malawi

Chitsanzo is a PhD Fellow from Zomba, Malawi.  He has a diploma in Clinical Medicine (general) (2000 – 2004) from Malawi College of Health Sciences in Lilongwe, Malawi. He developed a passion for mental health during his one-year internship at Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe, Malawi, and moved to Zomba Mental Hospital for further mental health practice in November 2005. He has a BSc in Clinical Medicine (Mental Health) (2008 – 2009), a joint upgrading degree from St. John of God College of Health Sciences and Mzuzu University in Mzuzu, Malawi. He also has a Master of Philosophy in Public Mental Health (2013 – 2015) from University of Cape Town, South Africa. He enjoys both clinical and classroom teaching. 

Chitsanzo's main research interests are:

Substance abuse: He plans develop a culturally acceptable basic intervention for the Malawian population. He has conducted a baseline study on the prevalence of substance use and service needs among psychiatric inpatients. He also conducted a systematic review in sub-Saharan African region which indicated that the prevalence of substance use is high but identification is low.

Suicide: He is working on providing evidence for policy change, especially decriminalizing suicide. He plans to redefine the pathway to care for suicide attempters and develop a comprehensive understanding of suicide issues such as burden, prevention and management in Malawi. His snapshot review of electronic media reports of suicide shows that socioeconomic challenges and poor stress management are part of suicide causality in Malawi.

Physical health needs of people with mental illness: His nationwide BSc project found prevalence of nearly 50% for co-morbid physical illness which were missed by referring clinicians. He is also researching the clinical impact of drug interactions. His PhD thesis for the AMARI fellowship investigates the clinical impact of combined use of first generation enzyme-inducing anticonvulsants such as carbamazepine, phenobarbitone, phenytoin and sodium valproate and antiretrovirals such as non-nucleotide reverse-transcriptase inhibitors and protease inhibitors. The combination of these medications is common in developing countries such as Malawi, but their impact is not fully understood.