Malawi continues to battle against access to health, especially among children, women and other vulnerable groups. The rate of stunting among children aged 0-59 months is estimated at 47%, which is above the 20% minimum by WHO. This is chiefly associated with poor nutrition for infants and mothers.


The Malawi Demographic Health Survey 2010 shows that children have signs stunting even at 6 months. Associated to this, infant and under five mortality rates are 66 and 100 respectively. The country loses 675 mothers per 100,000 live births during delivery. Diarrhea, malaria and Acute Respiratory Infections are the leading causes of child and infant mortality in Malawi. Only 22% of households have access to improved sanitation facility while 79.3% have access to improved water source13. Use of Insecticide Treated bed Nets among children is also very low, at 39.4%.


HIV/AIDS awareness in Malawi is high (at over 99.4%)14 while the correct knowledge of HIV prevention is 43% among sexually active population groups. The Malawi Demographic and Health Survey (2010) records 52% of pregnant women as having tested for HIV. The national HIV prevalence is 11% with 2 women being infected for every man. As many as 111510 children are reported to be living with HIV15.Life expectancy at birth for Malawi is 54 years Significant challenges in health include limited health personnel, inadequate (in numbers and supplies) health facilities.


Official records indicate that only 71% of births are attended by a skilled attendant. Another 14% of births are attended by traditional birth attendants; 9% by a relative, friends, or other person; 3 percent by no one while 2 percent were assisted by a patient attendant. Currently Malawi has a doctor/population and nurse/population ratios of 1:53,176 and 1:2,964, respectively; far below the WHO recommended standards for developing countries; 1 doctor/5,000 population and 1 Nurse/1,000 population. While interventions have been put in place to address the shortage of staff, the health sector still faces challenges.


Malawi invested an estimated 14% of the national expenditure to health in 2011/2012 national budget. This is below the Abuja target of 15%, and a slight increase from 13.24% 2009/2010. Out of the total MK24.8 billion allocated to the MOH in 2010/11, about 38% was for salaries, 13% to Medical Supplies and Expenses, about 8% internal travel and approximately 6% for training. The current per capita funding to health is $18, about half of the minimum requirement of at least $34. 8.0 

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