By Selena Ross

 

WASHINGTON — Here’s a fact-based snapshot of Malawi and its health challenges that the U.S. government has spotlighted in its initial work through the Global Health Initiative:

 

MALAWI

 

Total GHI spending:
FY 2009: $75 million
FY 2010: $100 million

 

Total population: 16 million
GDP per capita: $288

 

HIV rate: 11 percent
Maternal mortality per 100,000 live births: 807

 

Major health concerns in the country:
1) Birth is very high-risk in Malawi, which has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world and many newborn deaths as well
2) The HIV prevalence rate is very high, and while it has stabilized overall, it is climbing among young people
3) Malaria is the leading cause of death

 

GHI’s main goals: Improve survival rates and general health of mothers and children; decrease the number of unintended pregnancies; bring down the rate of new HIV infections in Malawi

 

GHI on the ground: Malawi’s health facilities can be far apart and unequipped to handle emergencies such as complicated births. Since women in Malawi often have trouble reaching specialized health care if they have problems during labor, GHI funding is intended to improve the staffing and training of labor and delivery wards as well as transportation systems linking more people to them.

 

(Sources: CIA; GHI country strategy documents; Kaiser Family Foundation; UN; www.foreignassistance.gov)

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