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CDC in Malawi

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Malawi at a Glance

  • Population: 15,883,000
  • Per capita income: $780
  • Life expectancy at birth women/men: 54/54 yrs
  • Infant mortality rate: 84/1000 live births
Source: Population Reference Bureau World Population Data Sheet, 2012

Map of MalawiThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been in Malawi since 2001. CDC, U.S. government and local partners help the Malawi Ministry of Health (MoH) achieve national public health goals by training health workers and by providing technical and financial assistance to improve surveillance systems, medical informatics, monitoring and evaluation, laboratories, care and treatment, and prevention efforts throughout the country.


Malawi is known for having one of the most innovative and efficient HIV programs in the world, and CDC is proud to be an implementing agency of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) supporting Malawi in achieving an AIDS-free generation. CDC provides technical assistance and programmatic support to local institutions, including the MoH and the National AIDS Commission, which oversee and manage Malawi’s HIV response efforts. CDC helps to: 1) scale-up comprehensive HIV services from prevention to treatment with an emphasis on improved referrals and linkages across facilities; 2) enhance access to and coordination of adult and pediatric HIV care and treatment; 3) expand the range and quality of preventing mother-to-child transmission services including infant follow-up, care and treatment; 4) strengthen integrated TB/HIV services; 5) support expanding a voluntary, low-risk blood donor pool nationally; 6) implement diversified models of HIV testing including outreach, mobile, door-to-door, provider-initiated, couples testing, and infant diagnosis; and, 7) provide voluntary medical male circumcision services.

Impact in Malawi

  • 67 supervisors provided HIV clinical supervision provided to 647 public and private sector health facilities in January 2012
  • 137 public health program managers completed quality improvement training
  • Trained 4,174 health workers in new clinical guidelines
  • Managed 25% of patients on antiretroviral treatment with user-friendly electronic data systems in 24 sites
  • Strengthened 64 clinical laboratories towards accreditation
  • Trained 550 new nurse midwives and other health professionals
  • 323,638 persons living with HIV are receiving treatment

Health Systems Strengthening

Collaboration among the MOH, CDC, and the International Association of National Public Health Institutes has resulted in the creation of the Public Health Institute of Malawi (PHIM). PHIM brings responsibility and oversight of a number of essential public health functions under a single management and leadership structure, which will improve coordination, accountability, and effectiveness. In addition, CDC has scaled-up management and leadership programs that train new health care and laboratory professionals through the Malawi College of Medicine. This program has helped to improve tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS work processes. District health management teams are now required to use program planning and quality improvement tools and skills they were taught to develop and implement annual district implementation plans. CDC also supports strengthening nurse-midwife and other health professional training colleges, as well as scholarships, resulting in the preparation of more than 500 new healthcare workers at public and CHAM training colleges.

With CDC support, the MoH and partners are improving health facility efficiency and healthcare quality throughout the country by developing and maintaining a national Electronic Data System, a national patient identifier system, electronic patient cards, and a national HIV surveillance system and surveys.

CDC also supports strengthening of laboratory services through in-service and pre-service training, institutionalizing quality assurance and quality control protocols, careful supervision and management, and overall integration of laboratory diagnostics.


CDC’s malaria program receives support from the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) and primarily focuses on monitoring and evaluation of malaria interventions and operations research, which guide policy and decision making in the country. CDC malaria control efforts consist of: 1) conducting studies to monitor drug efficacy of first and second line anti-malarial treatments; 2) providing technical guidance and support to the National Malaria Control Program for conducting household and health facility surveys and routine data collection; 3) working with the Malaria Alert center to monitor the indoor residual spraying program; and, 4) evaluating policies on using treatments to prevent malaria in pregnant women.

Top 10 Causes of Death in Malawi

Source: Bowie, C. “Burden of Disease Estimates for 2011 and the potential effects of the Essential Health Package on Malawi’s health burden.” University of Malawi, 2011.
  1. HIV/AIDS 25 %
  2. Lower respiratory infections 12 %
  3. Diarrheal diseases 8 %
  4. Malaria 8 %
  5. Cerebrovascular disease 4 %
  1. Ischemic Heart Disease 4%
  2. Conditions arising during perinatal period 3%
  3. Tuberculosis 3%
  4. Road traffic accidents 2%
  5. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 1%
8 U.S. Assignees
20 Locally Employed


President Joyce Banda on Women's Health and Empowerment in Malawi

Malawi’s President Joyce Banda talks about her new focus on women’s health and empowerment in Malawi, including prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV which CDC helps to support.

  • Page last reviewed: November 25, 2013
  • Page last updated: November 25, 2013
  • Content source: Global Health
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