Class 18 (2019-2021)
Chimwemwe Kumwenda, Malawi
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – School of Public Health
Born to a Rwandese father and growing up in Zambia, hearing stories about the genocide in Rwanda drove Chimwemwe’s compassion to help those affected by war. It was then, at the age of 9, that she dreamt of becoming a doctor someday to help and treat war victims.
That dream was fulfilled and Chimwemwe is now a practicing medical doctor in Malawi, her mother’s home country. She first worked as a Medical Officer at Kamuzu Central Hospital, one of the country’s largest referral hospitals, before joining Lilongwe Adventist Hospital where she currently works as a General Practitioner.
Despite living in a war-free country, Chimwemwe still found a way to reach out to those affected by conflict. In her free time, she volunteers at the country’s largest refugee camp, Dzaleka. The camp, originally built for 9,000 refugees, now has a population of approximately 39,000. Due to this overpopulation and the growing health needs, Chimwemwe has collaborated with several charity organizations to provide medical assistance for the refugees and complement UNHCR’s efforts to provide quality health care services. She is also part of the Rogue Humanitarians, a non-profit organization which periodically offers free medical services to the camp.
Prior to obtaining her medical degree, Chimwemwe worked part-time with World Vision Malawi on Maternal and Child Health projects. She also volunteered at Adventist Relief Agency (ADRA) and Population services International (PSI).
After completing the fellowship and her studies at UNC-Chapel Hill, Chimwemwe plans to upscale her work among refugees, especially children and mothers since they experience the heavier burden of health problems during and after war/conflict. She also hopes to extend her work beyond the refugee population and borders of Malawi, by influencing policymakers and leaders to develop programs that ultimately achieve one of the fundamental conditions for health: peace.