Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: There have been a dramatic gains in life expectancy worldwide since 2000, although a major inequalities persist within and among countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) report.
The report states that globally life expectancy increased by 5 years between 2000 and 2015, the fastest increase since the 1960s.
The increase was greatest in the African Region of WHO where life expectancy rose by 9.4 years to 60 years, driven mainly by improvements in child survival, progress in malaria control and expanded access to antiretrovirals for treatment of HIV.
“The world has made great strides in reducing the needless suffering and premature deaths that arise from preventable and treatable diseases,” said Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO. “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.”
This year’s “World Health Statistics: Monitoring Health for the SDGs” report also notes that with an average lifespan of 86.8 years, women in Japan can expect to live the longest. Switzerland enjoys the longest average survival for men, at 81.3 years.
However, people in Sierra Leone have the world’s lowest life-expectancy for both sexes: 50.8 years for women and 49.3 years for men.
Global life expectancy for babies 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 is born.
The report also shows that newborns can expect to stay healthy for just 63.1 years globally (64.6 years for females and 61.5 years for males) - nealy 8 years before the average of death.