In rural Zambia and Malawi, new mums face long delays finding out if they have passed HIV on to their babies.
Two years ago, Shola* was kicked out of the family house in Abeokuta, in southwestern Nigeria, after testing HIV-positive at age 13. He was living with his father, his stepmother and their seven children.
When Malawi's President Joyce Banda said that last week's elections were fraudulent and riddled with rampant irregularities, social media went viral calling her a loser.
Malawi's President Joyce Banda is campaigning ahead of next month's elections to extend her term of office. But many believe that the massive public service corruption scandal here has weakened her chances of winning.
Malawi, which has a population of 14 million, has an HIV prevalence of 10 percent. Almost a third of the infected are aged below 30. This is in part the result of early sexual debut for young girls, a practice encouraged in parts of the country where girls participate in traditional initiation ceremonies. Pilirani Tambala looks at why young Malawian girls are engaging in sex too early and what is being done to discourage the practice.
As South Africa’s first black president, Nelson Mandela, was laid to rest at his childhood home of Qunu in the Eastern Cape, Malawi’s President Joyce Banda told mourners that it was Mandela who taught her how to forgive those who tried to keep her from becoming southern Africa’s first female head of state.
Delays in finalising Malawi’s climate change policy, which has been in the making for the last three years, are affecting millions of families living in disaster-prone areas across this southern African nation, says the country’s minister of environment and climate change management Halima Daudi.
Maureen Phiri, 18, has a soft voice and a strong message about HIV and young people in her country. “In Malawi, people are still in denial because of cultural beliefs. Traditional leaders and churches are denying the disease. Let us gather those leaders and hear from young people what is really happening.”
Are Malawians, apparently, overwhelmingly prejudiced against homosexuality? And what does it signal when politicians call for a referendum on the issue of homosexuality?
Leading bankers are concerned that the regulatory environment in some southern African states is preventing them from offering a full range of services to individuals and companies across the region.
Malawi’s President Joyce Banda knows a thing or two about women’s empowerment. After all she is the first female southern African head of state.
Charity Salima, 54, has helped to deliver over 4,000 babies in her maternity clinic in Area 23 – one of Malawi’s poorest and most populous townships – and has yet to record a single pregnancy-related death.
Each night Esnart Phiri, a widow with five children, sleeps outside the gates of the state-run maize trader or Admarc market, in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe, as she waits for days on end to buy maize.
In Malawi, where the healthcare system frequently makes headlines for its shortages of drugs and medical workers, a fact that is often overlooked is that two out of four central hospitals do not have a specialist physician in attendance.
Malawi’s first-ever tripartite elections in May 2014 will be a litmus test for President Joyce Banda, who is faced with an opposition majority in parliament, soaring food prices, and a potential treason trial.