Lake Malawi is the third largest lake in Africa, and 9th largest in the world. The lake is approximately a million years old, about 365 miles long and 52 miles wide, and makes up 20% of the surface of Malawi.
The people of Malawi
Malawi is a peaceful country with a multi-party democracy. It has been independent from Britain since 1964 and English is the main language of education and government. There is free education for all 6 to 14 year olds. The religions are Christianity (60%), Islam (20%) and traditional (20%). Nearly 90% of the labour force is agricultural, growing maize, tea, cotton and chillies. The legal minimum wage is 50p per day.
With a population of 15 million, there are only 250 doctors in Malawi - one doctor for every 52,000 people (1 doctor per 500 people in UK). However, the under-5 death rate has come down dramatically from 334 per 1,000 live births in 1970 to 111 in 2007 (5:1,000 in UK in 2007). In urban areas, over 90% of one-year old infants are immunized against measles but few in remote villages.
Where there are no clinics, the main health problems are malaria, water-borne diseases, tuberculosis, measles, HIV/AIDS and maternal deaths due to lack of family planning.