Challenges in Healthcare

The leading causes of death in Malawi are fundamentally treatable and appear to result from failures in rapid response services as well as lack of a preventative healthcare. The government allocates almost 13% of its GDP to healthcare, but this only amounts to $20 per person.  Low outputs of medical training institutions, health worker retention, and disease have led to a severe shortage of healthcare personnel. There are a reported .2 physicians per 10,000 people and 3.4 nurses and midwives per 10,000 people. Although the Malawi government is working hard to keep its doctors, nearly 59% of Malawi-born doctors practice outside the country. The inadequacies of Malawi’s healthcare lead to an increased prevalence of disease and health issues, plaguing poverty and population.



The HIV/AIDS epidemic plagues Malawi and is the primary cause of death. According to UNICEF, an estimated 430,000 women were found to be living with HIV, directly and indirectly affecting the children of Malawi.

  • 10% of Malawian adults are living with HIV/AIDS (910,000 people)
  • 170,000 of them being children
  • AIDS orphans an estimated 610,000 children every year
  • 80,000 people die of AIDS per year



Malaria is amongst the leading causes of mortality in Malawi. Because children’s immune systems are still developing they are very susceptible to the disease. The dangerously high fevers and severe flu-like symptoms can lead to anemia, jaundice, kidney failure, coma and death.  The disease has been linked with developmental disorders and malnutrition in children.

  • Malaria is responsible for 8% of all hospital deaths
  • Malaria causes 30-40% of all hospitalizations of all outpatient visits


Maternal Mortality is still among the highest in Africa and infant mortality remains overwhelmingly high. Children often suffer from chronic malnutrition after childbirth.

  • 73% of women will have an institutional delivery according to UNICEF
  •  The maternal mortality ratio is 460 out of 100,00 live births (UNICEF, 2010)
  • The infant mortality ratio is 83 for every 1,000 births
  • 47% of children under five are stunted, 13% are underweight, and 3% are wasted.
  • Nearly 60% of all children are Vitamin A deficient

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