With approximately $180 million in investment between 2006 and 2014, the U.S. Government’s Presidential Malaria Initiative (PMI) has contributed to substantial scaling-up of malaria prevention and control interventions in Malawi. Nearly half of PMI’s funding in Malawi supports commodities to prevent and treat malaria, and PMI partners with the MoH to ensure that the most recent evidence is translated into policy and program implementation.
Malawi has one of the highest maternal mortality ratios globally, currently estimated at 574 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Adolescent pregnancies comprise 25% of all births and 20% of maternal deaths. Neonatal mortality, often caused by birth asphyxia, premature birth, and infection, is estimated at 29 per 1,000 live births. Causes of under-five mortality include malaria, diarrhea, and pneumonia.
Malawi faces a range of challenges to sustainably finance and efficiently manage the delivery of high-quality health services. There is a severe shortage of adequately trained health personnel across all professional cadres, and it is difficult to train, retain, supervise, and manage existing workers within the health system. There are also critical gaps in supply chain management, information systems, and infrastructure.
Malawi already appears to be suffering from the negative effects of climate change. Extremely high temperatures are occurring more frequently. Precipitation patterns are changing. In the coming decades, rainfall is likely to become more erratic and concentrated into heavy rainfall events that can cause flooding, temperatures will reach the heat threshold of some crops, and extended dry periods will become more common. These changes have major implications for human welfare and threaten to undermine development gains across sectors. Malawi’s vulnerability to climate change is exacerbated by high population growth, rapid deforestation, and widespread soil erosion.
Smallholder farmers cultivate 90% of the arable land in Malawi and face many challenges including declining soil fertility, erratic rainfall, land constraints, and poor institutional support. With limited access to credit, inputs, and price information, the typical farmer struggles to support a family of six on only one hectare of land. Malnutrition particularly affects children: 47% of children under 5 are stunted. Therefore, agriculture, nutrition, and climate-resilient growth are top development priorities for USAID. Through partnerships with the Government of Malawi and local non-governmental organizations, USAID is spearheading innovative programs to strengthen smallholder farmers’ economic and climatic resiliency.
Last updated: August 19, 2015