Strengthening global child health: Else Kröner Tandem Professorships between Malawi and Germany

3 million euros for pilot project
Kind bei Ultraschalluntersuchung

Bad Homburg v.d. Höhe, November 13, 2023 – With the aim of utilizing a model of university-level cooperation to strengthen patient care and clinical research in a developing country on a sustainable basis, this spring the foundation Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung (EKFS) invited tenders for a tandem of Else Kröner professorships entitled “Global Child Health” and earmarked funding resources amounting to a total of three million euros for a period of five years. A tandem involving one professorship apiece in Malawi and Germany has now been approved.

With a population of roughly 21 million, in 2023 Malawi has been classified by the UN as a “least developed country” and exhibits high figures for child and neonatal mortality along with a high rate of malnutrition. The density of physicians in the country, in which more than 80 percent of the people live in rural areas, is one of the world’s lowest. Doctors specializing in pediatrics are rarely available, too.

Professorships for children’s health worldwide

Research and patient care in developing countries can equally profit from Germany’s strong research infrastructure when suitable forms of cooperation are found between physicians and scientists in both countries. With these Professorships for Global Child Health EKFS now wants to put a model of a person-centered cooperation to the test in which two university-level executive positions are created and linked to each other in tandem. The Else Kröner Tandem Professorship is the first of its kind that promotes research and instruction in Germany and a partner country at the same time, and consequently enables an improvement of patient care in Malawi as well. 

“Within the scope of this model we see a good opportunity for creating synergies between the two partners in Malawi and Germany in the field of global child health,” says Dr. Jochen Bitzer, in charge of humanitarian funding at EKFS. And he emphasizes: “These professorships are going to further strengthen our readily established program to benefit children’s health.” The global rate of child mortality has decreased over the last three decades. Yet even so, each year around five million children less than five years old still die – frequently due to avoidable or treatable causes as a result of a lack of healthcare services.

The newly instituted Else Kröner Tandem Professorship has been established at the medical faculties of universities in Bonn, Germany and Lilongwe, Malawi. Dr. Andreas Schultz functions in a capacity as Group Leader for global child health at University Hospital Bonn. His partner in this tandem professorship is Dr. Ajib Phiri, who is a member of executive management of the medical faculty at the University von Malawi (UNIMA). “We are already able to look back on years of successful cooperation, and in recent years have gotten new professional training programs, treatment guidelines and networking facilities off the ground,” Dr. Phiri points out.

In Bonn, the future emphasis is intended to lie on healthcare research and instruction within the scope of courses of study in Global Health and Medicine, whereas in Malawi the priority is placed on clinical care and on training in a variety of healthcare professions. This enables the synchronous development of research and care structures. “The further development of pediatric curricula and/or advanced training involving pediatric emphases and a structural strengthening of the healthcare system in Malawi represent yet another focus,” explains Dr. Schultz.

The outcomes targeted by the project strengthen the local and national healthcare system on three levels: 
•    The professional training situation in those areas relevant to children is strengthened and anchored more widely within the country. 
•    Clinical activities are consolidated and stabilized, and acceptance within society and politics is increased. 
•    National treatment guidelines are consolidated and stabilized while contributing to quality assurance.

More information at:

Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung (EKFS) – Advancing research. Helping people.
Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung is a non-profit foundation dedicated to the funding and advancement of medical research and the support of humanitarian projects. To date the foundation has funded around 2,400 projects. With an annual funding volume currently amounting to over 60 million euros it is the largest foundation in Germany that actively funds and supports medicine. You can find more information at:

Press Contact
Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung
Bianka Jerke
Public Relations
Tel.: + 49 6172 8975-24