Projects - Health - Background
Diseases such as malaria, hepatitis A and schistosomiasis are prevalent in Malawi. 11% of 15 to 49 year olds are HIV/AIDS positive. It is estimated that there are between 1 million and 830,000 people of all ages living with HIV. Not everyone has access to clean drinking water and an adequate level of sanitation. A 2008 survey showed that in rural areas only 77% of the population were using improved drinking water sources and only 56% were using improved sanitation facilities.
Poor nutrition is also a problem in some areas. Surveys between 2006 and 2010 showed that 47% of under-5s suffered from moderate of severe stunting because of this. The combination of these factors gives a life expectancy of 54 years (UK figure is 80) and an under-5 mortality rate of 92 per 1000 (UK = 5).
Despite the problems, things are improving. HIV/AIDS prevalence has stopped rising. In 2010, 66% of pregnant women were tested for HIV – up from 10% in 2004. Anti Retroviral Therapy was given to 250,000 people in 2010 compared with 13,000 in 2004. The under-5 mortality rate of 92 per 1000 in 2010 has improved from 222 in 1990. Immunisation programmes have eliminated measles, neo-natal tetanus and polio and 60% of under-5s have bed nets to tackle malaria.
Medical facilities in Dedza are limited. For a population of over half a million, there is only one public hospital with 150 beds in Dedza Township and a few out-patient clinics in the rural areas. There is also a mission hospital at Mua and private clinics in Dedza Township but they charge for services.
The Norwich-Dedza Partnership is providing assistance with health services. Information on recent and current work is given in this section.