With an annual growth rate of 2.8 percent and a total fertility rate of 5 children per woman, Malawi's population is one of the fastest-growing in Africa, more than tripling over the past 45 years. At current fertility rates, it could triple again (to 50 million) by 2050. The high growth rate places great strain on Malawi's health system, environment, and economy—hindering the country's ability to meet its development goals.
Although Malawi's contraceptive prevalence rate has increased, the impact of this increase on actual fertility has been limited—half that of the average developing country. Nearly one in five women (19%) in Malawi still have an unmet need for family planning services, and the country faces challenges to mobilizing domestic financial resources to sustain progress in family planning (FP) and reproductive health.
HIV and AIDS also pose serious challenges to Malawi's health and development goals. Although new HIV infections have decreased, AIDS remains the leading cause of death in Malawi. The Malawi National Strategic Plan for HIV/AIDS (2015–2020) prioritizes the expansion of condom interventions, as significant gaps remain in uptake and coverage of this highly effective HIV prevention intervention. Maternal and newborn mortality also remain a pressing concern, as the poor status and substandard working conditions of midwives impact their ability to provide high-quality care.
What We Do
Within this context, HP+ in Malawi works with government and civil society institutions to
- Address unmet need for FP services
- Raise awareness and understanding of population and development issues
- Increase national leadership and capacity to spearhead a total market approach to improve condom access and availability
- Build the capacity of midwives to advocate effectively for improved working conditions and investment in high-quality care for women and newborns