Professor Address Malata: First Must female Vice-Chancellor

The name Professor Address Malata is no ordinary name, especially when we talk of women who are making great achievements in the country.

She is known as the first female Vice Chancellor of the Malawi University of Science and Technology (Must)—the fourth public university in the country.

But that is not all to her success story. It seems the road to achievements did not end with her appointment to the position of Vice-Chancellor, the highest position in a public university.

In February this year, Professor Malata received a Distinguished Alumni Award in recognition of the work in the fields of health care and education in the country and globally.

The award was inaugural and given for the first time at the Edith Cowan University in Australia where she studied for both her Masters and PhD programmes.

“It was after the award ceremony and upon hearing the achievements that the council of the Edith Cowan University decided to further award a Doctor of Honaris Causa, an honour given to global citizens that selflessly make a difference in their countries and globally,” she says.

She expresses delight over being given such an accolade, an honorary doctorate, describing it as quite an achievement more especially that the university gave the award for the first time to an African.

The event took place on September 9 in Perth, Australia.

She says: “All I can say is Ebenezer. It can only be God. I received both awards with humility and give all the glory and honour. God has been my pillar and stronghold.”

She also salutes her husband Stewart, her daughters Esther and Angella, her father Reverend Killion, her late mother Victoria Mgawi, all family and friends for supporting her throughout her incredible journey.

“I thank the Almighty God indeed for each one of them,” she says.

But who is Professor Address Malata?

She was born on March 24 1964 and went to Nkhoma Primary School in Lilongwe and later proceeded to Lilongwe Girls Secondary School from 1980 to 1983.

She attained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing with distinction from the University of Malawi in 1995 before she went for her Master of Science and PhD at the Edith Cowan University in Australia.

She is the past president of Africa Honour Society of Nursing of Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) and is also a Virginia Henderson Fellow of STTI and an Adjunct Professor for Michigan State University.

She received a Doctor Honaris Cuasa by University of Oslo in Norway and an Award of Excellence in Nursing and Midwifery by the National Organisation of Nurses and Midwives of Malawi.

The academician has also been a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing since 2014 and was awarded a Medal of Distinction by the University of Malawi for being one of the first female professors.

Professor Malata has been Principal Investigator/Co-Principal Investigator for research projects focusing on Sexual and Reproductive Health and has published in numerous International Peer Reviewed Journals.

As someone who has been successful in life, she has also strived to be a role model for young girls, especifically in her village, to pursue secondary and university education in different institutions.

Apart from her position as Must Vice-Chancellor, Malata is former vice-president of International Confederation of Midwives and she said she did it for African women.

She joined Must as Deputy Vice-Chancellor in early 2016 and was appointed to her current position in August 2016.

A trained nurse and midwife as well as career academic, Malata previously served as principal of Kamuzu College of Nursing (KCN)—between 2008 and February 2016—when she spearheaded the development and implementation of six master’s programmes and three PhD programmes.

She also led in the diversification of undergraduate programmes and the upgrading of Bachelor of Science programmes from six in 2008 to 19 in 2015.

Furthermore, she promoted faculty capacity building, increasing the number of KCN faculties with PhDs from five to 30.

Professor Malata has also supported nursing and midwifery students in Malawi and the Africa region to pursue postgraduate studies globally.

Malata has been actively involved in resource mobilisation, which saw KCN students receive scholarships for both undergraduate and postgraduate training, as well as infrastructure development at the Lilongwe campus and the new Blantyre campus at Kameza.

The academician has also been a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing since 2014 and was awarded a Medal of Distinction by the University of Malawi for being one of the first female professors.

Besides, she was also appointed as Lancet Global Commissioner on Quality of Maternal and New Born and child Health.

She notes that leadership is not always about being happy as there are times when you face challenges, calling for the need to hold on to something.

“Being a Christian, I hold on to my faith, because there are certain points when your colleagues may not be there for you but i have faith and that gets me through,” she says.

She did not get to where she is easy; she had to work hard to get there.

No one in her village went to secondary school, except her and her siblings. She says: “I come from a humble background, growing up in a mission station. At some point, I even went to school without shoes. But I defied all the odds, worked hard and attained education even at this level.”

Beyond that, she stresses on the importance of having people that can inspire you in your life.

“If you do not have role models or people you look up to in life, you just think that everything is alright. Actually at every point in my life, even now, there are people that I admire …people outside my institution that I know are doing well in leadership and making a difference. I always look at who can inspire me,” she said.

Fact File

  • 1980-1983 : Attended secondary school education.
  • 1995 : Attained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and proceeded for an MA and PhD.
  • 2014 : Awarded medal of distinction at Unima.
  • 2008-2016 : Served as Principal of KCN.
  • 2016 : Joined Must as deputy Vice-Chancellor and later appointed as Vice-Chancellor.
  • 2019 : Received a Distinguished Alumni Award in recognition of the work done in the fields of health care and education

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