Life expectancy in the African region increases by 10 years, the largest in the world: World Health Organization

In particular, the rapid expansion of measures to combat HIV, tuberculosis and malaria since 2005 has helped extend healthy life expectancy, according to a report.

In particular, the rapid expansion of measures to combat HIV, tuberculosis and malaria since 2005 has helped extend healthy life expectancy, according to a report.

Average life expectancy in the African region increased by an average of 10 years per person between 2000 and 2019, the WHO said, describing the increase as more than in any other region of the world over the same period.

However, the World Health Organization also warned that the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic at the end of this period could have a disruptive impact on these huge gains going forward.

The global health agency shared details of a report titled “Tracking Universal Health Coverage in the WHO African Region 2020,” released Friday during an online media briefing from its headquarters in Brazzaville, and said the number of years in which a person is in good health increased to 56 years in 2019, compared to 46 years in 2000.

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While the increase in life expectancy in Africa is still well below the global average of 64 years, global healthy life expectancy increased by just five years over the same period, the report says.

Reasons given for this increased life expectancy in Africa include improvements in the provision of basic health services, advances in reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health, and advances in the fight against infectious diseases.

In particular, the rapid expansion of measures to combat HIV, tuberculosis and malaria from 2005 has helped to extend healthy life expectancy.

Coverage of essential health services on the African continent improved to 46% in 2019, compared to 24% in 2000.

But while there have been significant advances in the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, there has also been a dramatic rise in lifestyle diseases such as hypertension and diabetes, with a lack of health services for these diseases.

“The sharp increase in healthy life expectancy over the past two decades is a testament to the region’s commitment to improving the health and well-being of its population. At its core, this means more people are living healthier lives, living longer, are less at risk of infectious diseases, and have better access to care and disease prevention services,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

dr Moeti called for paying more attention to other diseases. “Unless countries step up action to address the threat of cancer and other noncommunicable diseases, health gains could be jeopardized,” said Dr. Moeti. The report says it is crucial for governments to contribute more to their national health budgets.

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Most governments in Africa fund less than 50% of their national health budgets, resulting in large funding gaps. Only Algeria, Botswana, Cabo Verde, Eswatini, Gabon, Seychelles and South Africa fund more than 50% of their national health budgets.

“COVID-19 has shown the importance of investing in health to keep a country safe. The better Africa handles pandemics and other health threats, the more our people and economies thrive. I urge governments to invest in health and be ready to tackle the next pathogen head on,” said Dr. Moeti.

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