April 4, 2019
GENEVA: The World Health Organisation has reported that the global life expectancy
has gone up by 5.5 years since year 2000. However, there is no gainsaying the
gaping differences in figures for rich and poor countries.
A child born in 2016 can expect to live 72 years, up from 66.5 in 2000, according
to the annual World Health Statistics report. As of 2015, the country with the
highest life expectancy is Monaco at 89.52 years; the country with the lowest
is Chad at 49.81 years.
The WHO claims substantial progress has been made in the fight against measles,
malaria and such other communicable diseases, especially in Sub Saharan region,
remarkably reducing child mortality in the 16 years since 2000.
Advances made in the treatment of HIV/AIDS also contributed to the rise in
life expectancy. However, inequalities in income and availability of healthcare
still renders sections of people vulnerable to early deaths.
The report also says one can view life expectancy as a measure of a range of
public health factors: access to childcare services, traffic safety, hospital
capacity, prevalence of smoking and so on.
It flags differences in life expectancy vis-s-vis gender. One reason why women
appear to live longer is that they tend to be better about using available healthcare.
The report says life is shorter by 18 years on an average in poor or developing
countries. It also estimates that females have better longevity prospects than
And, in low-income countries with scarcer services, one in 41 women die from
maternity causes, compared to one in 3,300 women in high-income countries.
In Lesotho, for instance, people on average live to be just 52, or 53 in the
Central African Republic 53 years of age, compared to over 83 for Switzerland
and over 84 in Japan.
One in three deaths in poorer countries are children under five, the WHO said.
On an average, a child born in 2016 can expect to live 72 years, up from 66.5
in 2000, according to the report.
In the US, life expectancy has declined from 79 years in 2014 to 78.5 years
two years later.