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About Malawi

Introduction:

The widespread human tragedy of children becoming orphaned in increasing numbers due to health related issues such as the AIDS epidemic is particularly serious in Malawi, which is one of the world's poorest countries and therefore not in the best position to alleviate the crisis which is gripping the nation's children.

Over half a million children have been orphaned by AIDS in Malawi (www.avert.org/aids-malawi.htm ). These children start each day with no parental love, provision or security. In effect they have very little hope and bleak future prospects. Some have nobody at all, others are dependant on extended relatives or friends to survive. How can they ever break free of the resulting hopelessness and the cycle of poverty that has engulfed them?

About Malawi:

Malawi's political and economic development has been impeded by its landlocked and narrow economic base, limited foreign and domestic investment, high population growth, as well as by the pressure from health issues such as malaria and AIDS.

Life expectancy at birth is approximately 38.5 years (http://www.avert.org/aids-malawi.htm). The infant mortality rate (134 per 1,000) and malnutrition are among the highest in Africa. Only half the population has access to safe drinking water and there is an extremely high prevalence of HIV/AIDS (14% of the adult population).

The World Bank estimated that Malawi's per capita gross national product in 1997 was $220. External debt in 1998 was $2.3 billion, with debt servicing absorbing about a quarter of the Government of Malawi's (GOM's) budget revenue. The forgiveness or rescheduling of this debt, however, is difficult as more than 80% is owed to multilateral financial institutions (primarily the World Bank and IMF). Malawi has not completed the application process to qualify for the World Bank's Heavily Indebted Poor Country initiative and is not indebted to the United States (www.usaid.gov/pubs/bj2001/afr/mw).

A helpful site is the CIA's World Factbook: Malawi

History of the AIDS crisis in Malawi:

The first reported case of AIDS occurred in Malawi in 1985. In response, the Government implemented a short-term AIDS strategy (including blood screening and HIV education programmes), and created the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) in 1988 to co-ordinate the country's AIDS education and HIV prevention efforts. In 1989 a five-year AIDS plan was announced. Between 1985 and 1993, HIV prevalence amongst women tested at urban antenatal clinics increased from 2% to 30%.

In 1994 Malawi became a multi-party democracy. By this point AIDS had already damaged Malawi's social and economic infrastructure. Farmers could not provide food, children could not attend school and workers could not support their families, either because they were infected with HIV or because they were caring for someone who was.

In 2002, Malawi suffered its worst food crisis for over fifty years, with HIV recognised as one of the factors that contributed most significantly to the famine. A report suggested that 70% of hospital deaths at the time were AIDS related.

The epidemic has also heavily affected children. At the end of 2005, an estimated 91,000 children in Malawi were living with HIV, and over half a million children had been orphaned by AIDS (www.avert.org/aids-malawi.htm).

(There is hope though: One True Hope)

 

Some further links:

http://globalchildren.3cdn.net/e94234d1882227a8f5_ujm6i6wvj.pdf pages 3 and 4.

http://www.usaid.gov/locations/sub-saharan_africa/countries/malawi/

http://www.openarmsmalawi.org/content/Aids_-_The_facts

 

 


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