Our Work

A key strategy of the Government of Malawi, through the Department of Nutrition and HIV/AIDS, Office of the President and Cabinet, has been to develop nutrition interventions targeting the first 24-month period of the life cycle. These interventions include maternal nutrition, infant and young child feeding practices, water, sanitation and hygiene. These interventions are within the National Nutrition Policy and Strategic Pan of Malawi released in 2010. In 2012 the Nutrition Innovation Lab was awarded buy-in funds for capacity building in nutrition.  An Associate Award was then granted at the December 2014 to continue these activities.  The aim of the Nutrition Innovation Lab work is to build pre-service capacity in Malawi which will in turn, build trained nutrition experts to scale to carry out the Government’s interventions.

We are partnering with Bunda College of LUANAR University, the College of Medicine, and several  Ministries of the Government of Malawi.

Research Activities

The Nutrition Innovation Lab has undertaken the following activities in Malawi:

  • Curriculum Review of nutrition in higher education, as requested by the Ministry of Health
  • Assisting with establishment of a dietetics program at Bunda College, in collaboration with the College of Medicine and other partners
  • Faculty development at Bunda College
  • Construction of new Malawi-specific food composition tables, with assistance from FAO

Dietetics Program

The Dietetics Program at LUANAR has been accredited and student admission began in 2016.

Program Background

Malawi has been a leader in recognizing and targeting nutrition for priority actions.   However, an emerging trend in Malawi is the increased risk of overweight and obesity. A review of the DHS 2010 indicates that 28% of urban women aged 15-49 are either overweight or obese compared to 14% of rural women. A preliminary literature review shows that chronic non-communicable diseases and their risk factors are emerging public health problems. A recently published study examined the prevalence of smoking, alcohol consumption, overweight and obesity, hypertension, fasting blood glucose, and cholesterol levels. It found a third of the adult population aged 25-64 years either had elevated blood pressure or were on anti-hypertensive medications, 5.6% had raised fasting blood glucoses (hyperglycemia) or were taking medication for it, and 8.7% had high cholesterol values. Another study has reported prevalence rates of 13.6% for diabetes mellitus, 4.4% for ischaemic heart disease, and 6.1% for strokes in the adult population aged 30-69 years.

In order to address these problems within the country of Malawi, the Nutrition Innovation Lab, partnered with the College of Medicine and the Lilongwe University of Agriculture & Natural Resources (LUANAR) has developed the country’s first clinical dietetics program.

Program Curriculum

  • Fundamentals of Medical Nutrition Therapy
  •  Nutritional Biochemistry
  • Medical Nutrition Therapy
  • Nutrition Counseling and Behavior Change
  • Nutritional Epidemiology
  • Biometric Research Methods and Design
  • Nutritional Biochemistry: Micronutrients
  • Global Nutrition Programmes
  • Biostatistical Data Analysis
  • Medical Professionalism
  • Food Service Management
  • Community Nutrition

Local Contact

Sanele Nkomani
Supervising Dietitian 

Bunda College of Agriculture
PO Box 219, Lilongwe, Malawi 
+265 993 708383
skype: sanele1911

Bernadette Chimera
Clinical Coordinator 

Postgraduate Dietetics Programme
College of Medicine
Private Bag 360
Chichiri, Blantyre
Cell: +265 991 872 511

Agnes Mbachi Mwangwela, PhD
Senior Lecturer in Food Science and Dean
Faculty of Food and Human Sciences
P.O. Box 219,