The landlocked country of Malawi in southern Africa was formerly the British colony of Nyasaland, and a part of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, until independence in 1964. With a population of 13.9 million (2008 estimate), it has a birth rate of 43.1 per 1,000 and an infant mortality rate of 94.4 per 1,000 live births.

Malawi shares borders with Zambia, Mozambique, and Tanzania; Lake Nyasa forms much of the eastern border. In 2009, the legal age for marriage was increased from 15 to 16 years of age. A 2003 study found that the probability of divorce was 40 to 60 percent, among the highest in Africa.

Under the British, there were few health care provisions outside Zomba, the capital, and Blantyre, the economic capital. This ...

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