Life expectancy increases by five more years

Life expectancy increases by five more years

Life expectancy increased by five years between 2000 and 2015, the fastest increase since the 1960s, according to this year’s World Health Statistics: Monitoring Health for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

It said dramatic gains in life expectancy had been made globally since 2000 but major inequalities persisted within and among countries.

The report, which was made available to the Ghana News Agency by the World Health Organisation (WHO), said those gains reversed declines during the 1990s, when life expectancy fell in Africa because of the AIDS epidemic, and in Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

It said the increase was greatest in WHO's African region.

The report said the global life expectancy for children born in 2015 was 71.4 years (73.8 years for females and 69.1 years for males), but an individual child’s outlook depends on where he or she was born.

“The world has made great strides in reducing the needless suffering and premature deaths that arise from preventable and treatable diseases,”

“But the gains have been uneven. Supporting countries to move towards universal health coverage based on strong primary care is the best thing we can do to make sure no-one is left behind,” the report quoted said Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO, as saying.

The report shows that newborns in 29 countries – all of them high-income - have an average life expectancy of 80 years or more, while newborns in 22 others – all of them in sub-Saharan Africa - have life expectancy of less than 60 years.

This year’s World Health Statistics brings together the most recent data on the health-related targets within the SDGs adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015.

The statistics show that many countries are still far from universal health coverage, especially in the African and eastern Mediterranean regions.

A significant number of people who use health services face catastrophic health expenses (out-of-pocket health costs that exceed 25 per cent of total household spending), the report said.

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