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Malawi is a small landlocked country in south-
The country has a sub-
The history of Malawi was, compared to most other african countries, most of the time quite peacful. The former british colony became independant in 1964. Until 1994 Malawi was ruled by the dictator Hastings Kamuzu Banda. In 1994 the first democratic elections were held and in 2004 Bingu wa Mutharika took over presidency for the country until today. Although the economy stabilised and developed under his rule, there are still huge problems that need to be solved in the country especially because of the rapidly growing population, the high HIV prevalence and the persisting corruption.
With 13,6 million inhabitants and a population density of 115 people per km² Malawi is one of the most densely populated countries in Africa. Especially in the southern part of the country where the population density increases up to 125 people per km² this is an important factor with regard to food security. In spite of this difficulty the population is still growing by 2.4% every year which, together with the high mortality rate caused by HIV / AIDS, results in a kind of „children`s state“ with 48% of the population being below 15 years of age. Also kind of special in Malawi is the population distribution between rural and urban: currently only 17% of all Malawians are living in cities. There are 4 major tribes in Malawi: the Chewa, Yao, Tonga and Ngoni. But the Chewa represent by far the largest tribe of all and their tribal language Chichewa is, beside of English, the national language and is spoken in almost the whole country.
Education and health
The literacy rate is currently estimated to be around 63%. In 1995 free primary education
was introduced which lead to a rapid increase in the number of pupils in schools.
Nevertheless the number of teachers was not increased accordingly and also the teachers
available are very often not trained well. As a result the quality of the education
has suffered tremendously and classes especially in schools in the villages are often
overcrowded with more than 80 children. Also the possibilities for secondary schools
and higher education are very much limited and often not affordable for the poor
population. Consequently the country has far too few qualified employees and academics.
In addition there is the so-
The average life expactancy is currently at 44 years. 600 inhabitants have to share one bed in a hospital and each doctor stands for about 50,000 people. For one dentist there are even 450,000 inhabitants and most of the time they are only available in cities. Malaria, bilharzia, AIDS and malnutrition are the most commonly seen diseases in the country. The official rate for HIV infection is currently about 12%, but showing significant regional differences between the different regions in the country with up to 17.8% in the south. Every year about 70,000 people in Malawi are dying because of AIDS.
My working field: Zomba Central Hospital (ZCH)
During my three months in Malawi I stayed in Zomba, which is with around 80,000 inhabitants
the forth largest city in Malawi. There is a governmental hospital in Zomba, which
means that all examination and treatment costs are covered by the government. The
hospital is a third level referral hospital, where patients from smaller hospitals
and health centres are transferred to if they are severely sick or cannot be treated
elsewhere because of other reasons. Therefore ZCH has somewhat more possibilities
for diagnostic and treatment than smaller hospitals and is with 500 beds quite large.
During peak times the paediatric ward alone has sometimes up to 500 children admitted
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