Malawi - Population and Health
The population estimate for 2012 is 16.3m. Half (45%) are between 0 and 14 year old (equivalent in the UK is 18%). There are over 5 children born per woman. (UK is 1.7). The high birth rate and improving life expectancy could increase the population to 40m by 2040
Average life expectancy at birth is 54 years (UK is 80), partly because of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Adult prevalence has been stabilised at 11% with a successful testing campaign (1.7m tested by 2010) and provision of anti-retrovirals (250,000 people in 2010).
There are other improvements. Although still high, under-5 mortality has decreased by 59% since 1990 to 92 per 1000 live births. There have been successful inoculation programmes to eliminate measles, neo-natal tetanus and polio.
Maternal mortality is among the worst in the world. It is estimated that in 2008 there were 510 deaths of women per 100,000 live births (UK is 12). AIDS and poor nutrition are contributory factors, together with an under-resourced health service. The number of births attended by skilled personnel increased to 54%(2006 to 2010).
The few hospitals and clinics that there are in the Malawi, suffer from lack of facilities, medicines and staff. The country trains about 60 nurses each year but many leave to work abroad. To alleviate this, the UK Dept for International Development has a six year programme to support health services in Malawi, including £55m for training and retaining health workers.