MSF is currently responding to the devastating aftermath of Cyclone Idai in Malawi.

In Malawi, where an estimated 980,000 people are living with HIV, we run projects to support efforts to combat the virus.

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International donors have withheld budget support since 2014 due to corruption scandals.

In Nsanje district, we support the severely underfunded district management team in running a fully decentralised HIV and tuberculosis (TB) programme that includes infants newly diagnosed with HIV.

We also support in providing care for patients with advanced HIV in the district hospital, and healthcare for truck drivers and sex workers.

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has worked in the country since 1986 and provides a wide range of medical care, from HIV and tuberculosis (TB) treatment to maternal health and natural disaster response.

Cyclone Idai response: March 2019

MSF emergency teams are responding to the damage and devastating flooding caused by Cyclone Idai in Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe.

More than 100 tonnes of supplies, including medical kits, water and sanitation equipment, logistical items and other supplies have been sent to Beira in Mozambique. 


Malawi experienced heavy rain from the start of March. Coupled with Cyclone Idai, flooding affected the majority of Nsanje district in southern Malawi, with around 16,000 households affected.

Flooding has caused 59 deaths to date, with 677 injuries and the displacement of around 87,000 people in camps overall.

While many thousands of people are currently sheltering in schools, churches and makeshift camps for displaced people, some are starting to return home to rebuild their houses.

There has been widespread destruction of agriculture and animals – with major food shortages anticipated.

An MSF team of 18 people supported the health ministry to cover the needs of an estimated 18,000 people in Makhanga on the eastern bank of the Shire river, with health, sanitation and non-food-item supplies.

On 11 April, we brought our response in Makhanga to an end.


Malawi: Key information   

Since the 1990s, when the HIV epidemic was at its peak in the country, Malawi has shown a lot of improvement but there remains work to be done.

According to UNAIDS, HIV prevalence dropped from an estimated 14.2 percent in 2003 to 9.2 percent in 2016.

By mid-2017, 714,691 people living with HIV were taking lifelong antiretroviral treatment.

Yet HIV remains the leading cause of death among adults in Malawi, and there are still around 28,000 new cases each year. The progress made relies heavily on international funding, and there is a critical lack of qualified health staff.

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