Exchange report - incoming teachers
Home university: University of Malawi
Study programme: Midwifery
Exchange programme: Linnaeus-Palme
Semester: Spring semester 2017/2018
Duration: 21
Name: Ursula Kafulafula
Email address:


The preparations for my arrival were very satisfactory. I found a tax that was waiting for me at Arlanda International airport. The tax brought me to a prearranged accommodation at Jagargatan 20; apartment 6 where I stayed for the entire three weeks of my stay in Stockholm. The apartment was satisfactory for me. Everything that I needed for my stay in Stockholm was available. The apartment was adequately warmed up for the weather.

Language and Culture

The teaching that I conducted was done in English. The students were able to actively participate. At the beginning of the session, the students were informed to feel free even if they think their English is not perfect. This helped them to open up during the discussions. I found the Swedish people very friendly despite the language barrier. Each time I approached someone for help in terms of direction when I was not sure of where was what, people were forth coming and could even take their time to explain using gestures. The only thing I found that the Swedish are a bit hard is on ‘no use of the EURO currency in their major shops. I expected that I could use this currency. This really inconvenienced me on my day one in Sweden because all I had was EURO and USD. I nearly went to bed without any food in a country of abundance on this day if it wasn’t for McDonald that accepted to sell me some food using EUROs.

Leisure time

There were some social activities arranged for us although the bad weather interrupted some of them. We visited two Swedish homes outside of City Stockholm. This helped us to see more of Sweden than if we had just stayed within the city. We also managed to go to Vasa Museum and the harbor for the big ships which was a wonderful and amazing experience for me.


As already mentioned under the reflection section, it would be helpful if the teachers were given a little bit more time in the clinical areas to learn from their counterparts. I truthfully feel the exchange visit was worthwhile.  It has helped me to link with other researchers. 

Other activities

Besides the teaching of Global Health course topics, the organizers of our visit arranged different activities in which we participated. These activities included; orientation to KI campus, research meeting/sharing (14th March 2018; during which the KI and Kamuzu college of nursing faculty presented some research work that is being conducted); KI Education Congress 2018 (15-16th March 2018), launching of a ‘skin-to-skin’ film which KI faculty have developed as part of their research project conducted in Uganda, and a visit to three hospitals (BB Stockholm, KI hospital-Solna) and an antenatal clinic in Nacka. These visits helped me to appreciate the status of midwifery care in Sweden which is quite advanced. The major issue I observed is the availability of resources necessary for care provision. The research sharing helped us to link up with a team that is working on a proposal for a projects in which KI faculty is involved in. This proposed project is titled “Innovative maternity care: Scaling up midwifery-led continuity of care to improve the functioning and sustainability of maternity care systems (IMPACT). The team’s first meeting will be on 23rd April 2018 through probably skype.


Karolinska Institutet (KI) has a link with Kamuzu College of Nursing. The link, which has been in existence now for about years involves student and teacher exchange visits.  It is part of the tradition that each year two teachers from Kamuzu College of Nursing are nominated by the head of the midwifery department. I therefore was one of the nominees for this year’s visit. I was told of this nomination last year. This gave me time to prepare adequately both psychologically and materially.  The preparation included application for a visa through the Norwegian Embassy because Malawi does not have a Swedish Embassy. The process went swiftly without any problems. I was able to get the visa within two weeks of the application. Knowing that my travel would involve transiting countries that might need certain vaccinations requirements, I arranged to have a “yellow fever” vaccination at least 4 weeks prior to my tentative departure for Sweden. The presence of an exchange student at Kamuzu College of Nursing greatly helped me to prepare myself in terms of clothing appropriate for the weather at hand. Unfortunately, my preparations were not adequate because I did not bring with me shoes for winter. However, the office responsible for the exchange visits supported me greatly by providing me with a pair of winter shoes.


Among the many things that have touched me is how closely to the bed side the KI midwifery faculty are despite their academic qualification. In Malawi we are still grappling with the move away of most of the midwives from the bed side upon attainment of higher academic qualifications. This is leaving a gap in terms of clinical mentorship to the young ones. Definitely this visit will change my thinking especially in terms of my research areas. I would like to focus more on clinical/hospital based  research which I feel will help to keep me close to my clients and patients. Nothing organized for us was bad but I wish we had more time in the clinical area to actually experience the provision of care to women and neonates.


Before coming to Karolinska Institutet, I and my colleague were sent suggested topics to share and discuss with a class of midwifery students at KI. The topics were: Midwifery education and the role of a midwife in Malawi; the health of mothers and children in low income settings; and Women’s Rights and health. We chose the first two topics which were presented to the midwifery students on 19th March 2018.

Teaching hours

On 19th March 2018, from 10:00Am-4:30PM, I and my colleague shared and discussed with a year 1 midwifery group of students of KI issues regarding midwifery education and role of a midwife in Malawi and women and children health in low income countries. This was part of Global Health course and the session lively and interesting. Students were eager to know more about issues relating to care and management of mothers and infants especially in the context of HIV and AIDS. Breastfeeding and mortality/morbidity ratios featured highly on the list of questions from the students. It was an ‘ohoo’, ‘is this true’ situation when statistics on morbidity and mortality were displayed because almost all the students (already qualified nurses) have not experience any maternal mortality in their workplace.  One could clearly see the hunger in the students for information regarding what goes on in the other part of the world. This can be bridged through a course like the Global Health.