Malawi has one of the highest maternal mortality ratios globally, currently estimated at 5.7 maternal deaths per 1,000 live births. Adolescent pregnancies comprise 25 percent of all births and 20 percent of maternal deaths. Neonatal mortality, often caused by birth asphyxia, premature birth, and infection, is estimated at 29 per 1,000 live births, while under-five mortality, mostly caused by malaria, diarrhea, and pneumonia, is estimated at 84 per 1000 live births.
Malawi has a young population: 66 percent of its 17 million people are under age 25; 53 percent are 18 and younger*. 16.7 percent of children under 18 are Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC).
Although national HIV prevalence decreased from 12 percent in 2004 to 10.6 percent in 2010, Malawi continues to face a severe epidemic. There are an estimated 1.1 million Malawians living with HIV and over 771,000 orphaned children, many due to AIDS.
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.
USAID collaborates with development partners and civil society to address rapid population growth, which remains a significant development challenge in Malawi. In fact, the population is expected to nearly triple by 2040 which will further stress the country’s overwhelming issue of food insecurity.
Last updated: December 20, 2016