The Zomba Mental Health Link (ZMH Link), formerly known as the Harrogate Zomba Hospital Link, was established following a visit to Zomba Mental Hospital in Malawi in 1998 by Jennifer Travena, a Senior Physiotherapist in Mental Health. The Zomba Mental Health Link became a registered charity in 2007 and, with the reorganisation of mental health services the Link has been recently been adopted by TEWV.

Aim of the Zomba Mental Health Link

“To support the development of mental health services at Zomba Mental Hospital in Malawi through the sharing of knowledge and skills”

Established in 1998
Link partners:

  • Zomba Mental Health Services
  • Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust
  • Department of Health Sciences, University of York

Registered as a UK charity - charity number 1119153

Registered with Tropical Health Education Trust as an NHS International Health Link

Get involved

If you are interested in supporting the charity by fundraising or developing the training, or being part of the teams that go out, please contact Taiwo Adewumi, lead of Zomba mental health link, on email, Phillippa Bolton on email or Stephanie Common, clinical psychologist, on email 

If you are a member of TEWV staff you can support the Zomba mental health link through payroll giving - see the fundraising pages of inTouch (the staff intranet) for more information or contact Phillipa on the email address above.

Latest update

September 2017:

The Trust has agreed with Zomba we will focus on the following areas over the next three years:

  • setting up a model ward to trial improvement ideas
  • setting up a continuous programme of development (CDP) for ongoing staff training
  • improve electro compulsive therapy (ECT)
  • develop a child-friendly area with an assessment room and potentially longer-term admissions ward.

21 June:

Taiwo and Philippa have been teaching staff how to use an EEG (electroencephalogram) machine, used to record brain activity, that was donated to the hospital but had not been set up and no staff training given.

Taiwo led a session with Zomba staff about child and adolescent mental health conditions and assessment and Philippa went along to an occupational therapy dance session where she say patients were transformed "all the mental illness seemed to fall away and they became their true selves for the hour it was on".

Some of the team from the Zomba psychiatric hospital with Taiwo and Phillipa, June 2017

20 June:

Trust colleagues Philippa Bolton and Taiwo Adewumi are currently in Malawi visiting the Zomba psychiatric hospital.

They have taken donations of books from our pharmacy teams for staff and blankets and baby clothes knitted by Trust patients in Durham which have been handed to babies on wards where mums are being treated for psychosis.

Philippa and Taiwo have met with staff and spent time teaching about common mental disorders and psychotropics, introducing LUNSERS (The Liverpool University Neuroleptic Side Effect Rating scale) and the stress bucket model.

They also attended a patient psychoeducation group where there was a lively discussion about how to stay well after discharge. They heard about drug shortages and rising patient numbers at the hospital.

The Zomba hospital has 200 patients on seven adult wards, there are no child wards in Malawi. A psychiatrist will soon join the team which has just five mental health trained nurses working with mental health assistants and students and an occupational therapy department running skills training for patients (famring, cooking, taoilering etc.) as patients will need to work after discharge as there is no welfare state.

Philippa and Taiwo are working with staff at the hospital to look at ways our Trust can support them - when they return to work they will share news of potential projects that Trust staff can get involved in.