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East Afr Med J. 2000 Mar;77(3):168-71.

Socio-economic support for good health in rural Malawi.

Author information

1
Medical School, University of Tampere, Finland.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To study the socio-economic support for good health among subsistence farmers in rural Malawi.

DESIGN:

A cross-sectional survey.

SETTING:

Lungwena, a rural area with 17,000 inhabitants in southern Malawi.

PARTICIPANTS:

Seven hundred and ninety five pregnant women who attended the antenatal clinic at Lungwena Health Centre between June 1995 and September 1996.

INTERVENTIONS:

Interviews about socio-economic conditions. Measurements of cultivated land areas and distances between home and the local health centre.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Proportion of households lacking literate adults, adequate water source and sanitation, easy access to modern health care or food security.

RESULTS:

Only 14% of the interviewed women could read and write and half of the households had no literate members. Every fifth household was lacking both an access to safe drinking water and a proper sanitary facility. The distance to the health centre was more than 5 km among half of the households and only 37% had enough land to grow food for all family members. When other potential means of obtaining food were taken into account, 27% of the households had no food security. Numerous households were lacking more than one socio-economic prerequisites of good health: three or more were missing from a quarter of the families.

CONCLUSIONS:

Socio-economic prerequisites of health were commonly missing in Lungwena. Subsequent health interventions should strengthen the investments into general poverty alleviation.

PMID:
12858895
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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