Malawi

Country Facts

  • Population: 18.5 million
  • Life Expectancy: 60 years
  • Literacy Rate: 66%
  • Average Annual Income (GNI): $1,140

Country Overview

Malawi is a landlocked country in southeast Africa.  Agriculture makes up one third of GDP and is a significant part of the economy with 80% of population employed in it. Most of the population relies on subsistence farming. Fishing is also a major industry. Malawi is ranked 220 out of 250 on the Human Development Index.  It is ranked among the poorest, least developed countries in the world. Economic instability and environmental disasters such as famine, annual droughts and flooding have kept the majority of the nation in impoverished conditions and have also contributed to the development of major public health problems.

HIV/AIDS, respiratory infections and malaria are the primary causes of death. Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, cancer, and diabetes are increasingly becoming a public health concern. Maternal, child, and infant mortality are also significant problems. According to the WHO, there is one doctor for every 50,000 people in Malawi. Public hospitals lack basic equipment, face chronic shortages of basic medicines, and are not affordable for the average person.

Development

WCF aims to empower people with the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully run a business.  WCF provides free business trainings in Mzuzu to support business owners and entrepreneurs. We also support educational and food sponsorships for at risk youth. The school life expectancy from primary through tertiary education is 11 years. As of 2010, 1% of youth between the ages of 15 and 24 had attained tertiary education. In addition, many schools are under-resourced and underfunded.

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In Malawi, 52.4% of the population lives below the poverty line, and 61% of the population lives on less than $1.25/day. Limited connectivity to the region and the rest of the world and poor health and educational systems severely limit labor productivity. Agricultural productivity has been severely impacted by flooding and drought conditions. High inflation rates (21.9% in 2015) and the devaluation of the local currency have caused economic instability and hardship for the average Malawian.

Life Center

WCF has launched the Mapale Medical Life Center, a community medical center designed to provide affordable healthcare for members of impoverished and disadvantaged communities in partnership with Life Skill Awareness Development Organization (LSADO), an indigenous, local non-profit) led by Moffat and Rosemary Phiri located in Mzuzu.

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The overall healthcare needs in Malawi are overwhelming, but the facilities and number of workers to provide healthcare services are very poor.

According to the WHO, for every doctor in Malawi, there are 50,000 people.  There are 20 surgeons in the entire country (compared to 800 in South Africa).  Hospitals and clinics are finding it very difficult to employ enough trained medical staff.  Many medical doctor or nursing students are trained abroad, but due to the very low pay and high workload, often stay abroad to work.

Public hospitals were once free for patients, but admission fees are now being required and they lack basic equipment and face chronic inadequate supplies of medicine.  In the past few years, government hospitals frequently ran out of medicines.

The northern region of Malawi has the least resources of all the regions of Malawi.  It is a five hour drive from the political capital of Lilongwe located in the middle of the country and even further away from the economic capital of Blantyre located in the south.  The WCF Medical Life Center is located in this northern region of Malawi to help with this overall healthcare crisis.

Medical

WCF sponsors free mobile medical clinics, healthcare seminars and continuing medical education for local medical professionals in Malawi in order to alleviate the multitude of health problems that Malawians face.

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HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death among the overall population. Over 1 million children have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS, and over 1 million adults and children are currently living with HIV/AIDS. 54% of the population is known to be HIV positive and have tuberculosis.

Malaria is the 3rd leading cause of death in the overall population. 100% of the population is at risk of malaria due to its high transmission rate.
 
Non-communicable diseases such as hypertension and diabetes are responsible for an estimated 28% of all deaths annually.
 
The maternal mortality rate is 634 per 100,000 births (24 in the world), the under-5 mortality rate is 71 per 1,000, and the infant mortality rate is 46 per 100,000 live births (42 in the world).