Malawi is a small, landlocked country located in southern sub-Saharan Africa. It shares borders with Zambia, Mozambique and Tanzania, and is known as “the warm heart of Africa.” The second largest freshwater lake in Africa, Lake Malawi (Lake Nyasa), runs nearly the length of the country. Malawi gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1964. The official languages are Chichewa and English.

According to the Human Development Index, which measures a country's achievements in terms of life expectancy, educational attainment, and adjusted real income, Malawi is one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world, with a ranking of 159 out of 174. Only 47 percent of the population has access to clean drinking water, and a staggering 97 percent do not have access to sanitation facilities. As in many African countries, the spread of HIV/AIDS is horrific. Some estimate that 10 to 15% of Malawians are HIV/AIDS positive.

Malawi Facts:
• Location: Southern Central Africa
• Population: 12.3 million
• One of the 11 poorest countries in the world
• Average annual income $170
• Life expectancy 40 years
• Male adult literacy rate 74.5%
• Female adult literacy rate 46.5%

HIV/AIDS in Malawi
• 900,000 women, men, and children infected with HIV (950,000 in the USA)
• 51% of infected adults are women
• 84,000 deaths due to AIDS (14,000 in the USA)
• 500,000 children orphaned
• Free treatment with anti-retroviral drugs available to only a few thousand

Other Facts:
• Highest population per doctor: Malawi ranks 1st in the world at 88,321.
• Most road accidents (# people injured per 100m vehicle-km): Malawi ranks 1st in the world at 2,730. (Rwanda is a distant second at 1,764.)
• Lowest purchasing power (US = 100): Malawi ranks 2nd in the world at 1.6
• Maternal mortality rates: Malawi ranks 3rd in the world with 1800 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, behind Sierra Leone and Afghanistan
• Lowest GDP per head: Malawi ranks 5th in the world at $140
• Lowest median age: Malawi ranks 6th in the world at 16.3
• Lowest life expectancy: Malawi ranks 7th at 41.1.
• Lowest female life expectancy: Malawi ranks 7th at 40.6
(women live shorter lives than men in this country.)
• Highest foreign debt, as % of goods and services: Malawi ranks 8th at 660%
• HIV/AIDS prevalence among 15 - 49 year olds:
— Malawi ranks 8th at 14.2% of population in this age range
• AIDS deaths per 100,000 of population: Malawi ranks 8th at 694.
• Highest death rates:
— Malawi ranks 12th at 19.9 per 1,000 population
• Crude birth rates, number of live births per 1000 people:
— Malawi ranks 14th at 44.6
• Highest fertility rates in the world: Malawi ranks 16th at 6.1.
• Highest infant mortality: Malawi ranks 16th at 102.6 per 1000 live births

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