10 Facts about Life Expectancy in the Ukraine
Ukraine came into focus of international journalists when Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014. Since then, most media coverage of the country has centered on the raging war in the country and reports of the military efforts, diplomatic attempts at peace or humanitarian efforts to help civilians.

Despite the lack of publicity on other relevant topics in the country, Ukraine has made significant steps in improving the quality of treatment and health care available to its citizens, improving the life expectancy consequently. In the text below, top 10 facts about life expectancy in Ukraine are presented.

10 Facts about Life Expectancy in Ukraine

  1. Non-infections diseases, not war or famine, are the largest cause of death in the country. Sixty-three percent of all deaths are caused by cardiovascular diseases followed by cancer-related deaths at 15 percent and chronic respiratory diseases as the third largest problem that causes 2 percent of deaths.
  2. Ukraine has a low rate of obesity. Around 79 percent of Ukrainians get the proper amount of exercise in their life and only one in four people suffer from obesity. In comparison to some other countries, such as the United States, this is a relatively low number. Although heart diseases are common, unhealthy weight is not their primary cause.
  3. People in the country often live up to their seventies, but the gender-gap in lifespan is high. Ukrainian women reach 77 years on average, whereas men reach 68 years on average. This nine-year lifespan gap among genders is almost double higher than the five-year disparity seen in most Western countries. As men consume three times as much alcohol as women do and are over four times as likely to smoke, bad-habits provide likely explanations for this occurrence.
  4. Smoking and lung cancer that is mainly directly caused by smoking, are declining among men. At the start of the 2000s, over 60 percent of Ukrainian men were smokers, while only 10 percent of women smoke. Over the past 16 years, smoking’s popularity has dropped to 49 percent among men in 2011. The rate of lung cancer fell by similar percentages over these years.
  5. The World Health Organization (WHO) and Ukrainian Ministry of Health have partnered to educate caregivers and inform citizens about health care. Two-day training courses have been delivered to 10,000 health professionals, greatly improving the quality of medical treatment.
  6. Access to medicine and primary medical care has also improved. Medical care in Ukraine used to be very expensive as out-of-pocket payments made up almost half of total payments. In 2017, Management Sciences for Health helped implement a state reimbursement program, reducing the prices of 157 brands that treat heart diseases, asthma, diabetes, and other serious conditions. Out of this number, 23 of the brands are available at little or no cost.
  7. School changes are reducing high-risk behavior. Starting in 2015, as a proactive measure to foster better habits, schools have changed curriculum to address disease risks and to provide healthier meal options.
  8. The Ukrainian government has doubled its AIDS response budget. In 2017, after a successful advocacy campaign, the government increased its response budget by 132 percent, providing over 107,000 people with life-saving medicine.
  9. As many as 178 clinics help opiate addicts recover. After international funding was cut in 2017, the Ukrainian government took over funding for opiate substitution clinics. Providing 10,000 recovering addicts with methadone and similar drugs as they are weaned off of narcotics, this makes the program largest of its kind in the region.
  10. Tuberculosis patients do not longer live in quarantine. Under the former systems, patients faced years of hospital quarantine until they were cured. Now PATH, medical nongovernmental organization, advocates for patent rights and provides technical and moral support to patients as they cope with the harsh side effects of their medication.

These 10 facts about life expectancy in Ukraine paint a very different, oddly more familiar, picture than the headlines do.

The primary causes of early death in the country are not famine and conflict, but the same ones that are found in many high-income countries: heart diseases and cancer.

Fortunately, these “old hat” problems have been resolved before and Ukraine, with the continuous work that is being done, will have similar success, given time.

– John Glade
Photo: Flickr

Top 10 facts about life expectancy in Liberia
Liberia is an African nation that is considered to be the oldest republic in the continent. The country has a population of 4.6 million people out of which 5 percent is made up of decedents of freed American and Caribbean slaves who founded the state.

The history of the country was clouded when a brutal civil war that started in the 1990s resulted in over 250,000 deaths and caused many other to flee the country. A major factor that determines a country’s life expectancy is the level of poverty.

Therefore, the following top 10 facts about life expectancy in Liberia will look at the economic, political and social contexts surrounding life expectancy in Liberia.

Top 10 Facts About Life Expectancy in Liberia

  1. According to the data from 2018, life expectancy in the country is at 62 years for men and 63.9 years for women. This represents an increase that began in 2016 but still puts the country at 156th place in the world. However, this is a huge leap from the 192nd place that country previously held.
  2. One of the biggest hits to the nation’s economy in recent years that also continues to greatly affect the level of life expectancy was the devastating Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak that occurred in 2014.
  3. In 2018, there were reports of a new Ebola outbreak in northwestern parts of the country. This lead to the declaration of the outbreak by officials who claimed that this incident is a big risk to public health.
  4. The life expectancy of the country was affected not just by of the outbreaks of Ebola outbreaks but because other public health issues were consequently held in the back. The health system of the country was already seriously weakened during civil war years and its severity was beyond the country’s capacity.
  5. Moreover, the outbreak was detrimental to the country’s business sector as it resulted in significant businesses shutting down and the once-bustling markets now being short on some supplies. Food and fuel shortages are adding to the ongoing chaos in the country.
  6. The collapse of commodity prices and UNMIL recoil occurred in January 2018 as a result of anticipation of risk related to the political transition. These factors contributed more hurdles to Liberia’s fight against poverty and its efforts to improve life expectancy.
  7. The much-needed support for the nation came from organizations such as WHO, UNICEF, USAID as well as from other entities such as the United States government that helped in the aid of rebuilding country’s clinics and laboratories.
  8. The United States government also made a decision to increase the support given to the West African countries that were affected by the epidemic. This help can directly affect the fight against epidemic and result in the increase of life expectancy. The announcement by the United States government resulted in the immediate start in the construction of 17 new treatment facilities and training for 500 health care personnel every week.
  9. The new administration under President George M. Weah has been able to alleviate serious security issues and put government focus on a fight against poverty with an economic manifesto that is deemed pro-poor as it aims to support marginalized and vulnerable members of the population.
  10. Despite the challenges of recovering from a disease outbreak and its effect on the economy, the new leadership has an optimistic economic projection for the coming years and it plans to implement policy reforms in order to stimulate the economy and create stability.

Liberia has had some serious hurdles against its ability to initiate economic growth and sustainable development that affects key sectors such as health due to the effects of a brutal civil war and catastrophic outbreaks of Ebola. These issues affect the life expectancy in the country as well. However, the country has made some commendable efforts towards coping with these issues.

The new direction the nation has taken has a positive and ambitious goal to promote a fast and sustainable recovery for the country that will have a huge factor on the country moving up the life expectancy ranks.

– Bilen Kassi
Photo: Flickr

10 Facts about Life Expectancy in Canada
Canada has one of the highest life expectancy rates in the world, but these numbers may be deceiving when the population is broken down further in the detail. The following 10 facts about life expectancy in Canada described in this article will show that despite the high life expectancy rate, there is a stark disparity between the indigenous population and non-indigenous population in the country.

10 Facts about Life Expectancy in Canada

  1. The average life expectancy in Canada was 82.30 years old in 2016. This can be broken down further to male and female genders, with the females life expectancy at 84 years on average and male population life expectancy approximately at 80 years. There is a large discrepancy here, however, between the indigenous and non-indigenous population in the country. According to federal documents, the people that belong to indigenous population live approximately 15 years less than people from the non-indigenous population.
  2. First Nations adults or non-indigenous Canadians are twice as likely to die from preventable health causes than non-aboriginal adults. These preventable causes are ones like pneumonia, breast cancer and tuberculosis. Many of these deaths could be prevented if these people had better access to health care.
  3. People of the indigenous population in Canada are more likely to experience inequalities in health care than people of the non-indigenous population. For example, they are more likely to wait for treatment in emergency rooms or visit several different hospital emergency rooms to get treatment for illnesses. This poor care may be the result of intrinsic discrimination in the health care system.
  4. Mental health problems are also more likely to be the problem of the indigenous population. In Aboriginal communities, the suicide rate is five to six times higher than the national average. Inuit youth population also has a suicide rate that is 11 times higher than the Canadian average, and it is one of the highest suicide rates globally. Mental health is a critical determinant of a healthy person, and due to lack of access to proper health care, the indigenous population may be more at risk for the continuation of these illnesses.
  5. One way that Canadian government and official institutions are targeting this inequality is by recruiting more indigenous doctors to the medical field to improve cultural sensitivity and to draw attention to issues that indigenous population faces. There is also an initiative between the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada and the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada. This initiative aims to devote part of the undergraduate medical study to indigenous health care and problems in the health care industry. While this is a slow process, it represents work being done to ensure better health care and life outcomes.
  6. High life expectancy in Canada is correlated, in part, with education. According to the OECD, Canada’s population is the most educated in the world with 56.27 percent of adults that have completed a two-year, four-year or vocational program. The discrepancies between indigenous and non-indigenous population life expectancy mentioned above may also be due to the differences in education. For example, the Inuit population in the Kativik region of Quebec has a graduation rate of 25.9 percent while the total graduation rate of the Quebec region is 79 percent.
  7. Differences in education are also reflected in job acquisition and earning potential. Due to lower levels of education, people of the indigenous population are less likely to be employed in professional, managerial and technical jobs that typically provide opportunities to earn more money. Indigenous peoples are more likely to be found employed in jobs with less earning potential that do not require a post-secondary degree. These jobs include trades, service industry, or agricultural jobs. Differences in work and earnings may lead to lower income and less access to much-needed services that can ensure survival and prolong life.
  8. In 2012, according to the First Nations Information Governance Centre, the unemployment of the indigenous population was 13.9 percent, 5.8 percent higher than the non-indigenous population unemployment rate of 8.1 percent. Unemployment can negatively affect many aspects of life, including both mental and physical health, as well as increasing poverty levels. This can certainly explain lower life expectancy rates.
  9. Poverty also influences indigenous population more than non-indigenous population. Over 80 percent, or 297 out of 367 Aboriginal reserves, had a median income lower than the national poverty line that Statistics Canada considers to be $22,133. Poverty is directly linked to chronic stress that can drastically influence health outcomes and thus lower life expectancy.
  10. One nongovernmental organization fighting these harmful effects described above is the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC). The NWAC’s goal is to promote and improve the well-being of indigenous populations through policy initiatives, advocacy and projects. Some of the projects are Project PEACE, that aims to advocate for community safety nets and financial literacy programs for women and ASETS (Aboriginal Skills and Employment Strategy), a program that helps women find jobs and gain educational skills.

These 10 facts about life expectancy in Canada show that despite the fact that the country is considered to be one of the most developed in the world, there is still the unequal treatment of indigenous population and more should be done to resolve this question.

While these facts may look bleak, there are organizations that are working to improve indigenous livelihoods and reduce unjust inequalities.

– Isabella Niemeyer
Photo: Pixabay

Life Expectancy in the United States
The United States is most known for its freedom, economic predominance and technological advancement. However, compared to other developed countries in the world, the United States ranks at or near the bottom in terms of mortality and life expectancy while surpassing other countries in health spending.

Rank of US in OECD

Along with the United States, 35 other countries make up the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental economic organization that keeps track of developed countries’ economic and human development progress.

In comparison to other OECD countries, the United States ranks 29 for infant mortality and 26 for overall life expectancy. While the life expectancy in the United States has dropped for the second year in a row, this is not surprising as the life expectancy of the country has been dropping for decades.

In 1960, the United States had the highest life expectancy, 2.4 years higher than the average of OECD countries. However, in 1998, the United States dropped below the OECD average and plateaued since. The new average life expectancy in the United States is 78.7 years, which is 1.5 years less than the average life of all OECD countries of 80.3.

To get a better understanding of the life expectancy in the United States, similarities and differences between the United States and other developed countries, the factors that affect the life expectancy rate in the United States and the improvements that can be made to increase the life expectancy have to be taken into consideration.

Factors That Affect the Life Expectancy in the United States

The National Research Council and Institute of Medicine studied the reasons as to why the life expectancy in the United States continue to fall below the OECD average. The researchers found a plethora of problems including obesity, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and homicides.

However, they also found drugs to be one of the main contributing factors with a 137 percent increase in fatal drug overdoses between 2000 and 2014. To emphasize the significance of fatal drug overdoses in the United States- the average of 115 Americans dies every day from an opioid overdose.

On top of that, Fortune reports that six Americans die from alcohol abuse daily, the highest rate in 35 years.

Besides drugs and alcohol, the United States faces health obstacles as well. According to CNN, the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States are heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, stroke, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s disease, suicide and unintentional injuries. These causes account for 74.1 percent of all deaths in the United States.

However, the chances of having any of these problems can be reduced by taking care of oneself physically and mentally through exercise, eating right and in overall, living a positive and healthy lifestyle.

Despite the increase of the deaths in the United States, seven of the top 10 leading causes have decreased in recent years: heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, stroke, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia and kidney disease.

Organizations Improving the Situation

  • World Health Organization (WHO). This is one of the many organization dedicated to building a healthier future for people all over the world. WHO works with 194 member states, across six regions, from more than 150 offices, working to combat diseases such as influenza, HIV, cancer and heart disease. WHO’s mission is to provide leadership on matters pertaining to health, improve norms and standards to fit a healthier lifestyle and monitor health situations and trends. Its work in the U.S. is crucial for the country.
  • Save the Children. This organization works in the United States and in many other countries around the world with a goal to save as many children as possible from an unhealthy and dangerous lifestyle. Save the Children reported that in 2017 alone, it worked with more than 155 million children in 120 countries. Out of this number, 237,000 were children in the United States.

With the help of organizations such as the World Health Organization and Save the Children, the United States, along with other countries, can continue to make economic and human developmental progress. The question of improvement in the quality of life is one most important questions that the United States has to address in the upcoming years.

– Kristen Uedoi
Photo: Flickr

Improving Conditions in India: Emerging Economies
Currently, India is a low middle-income country and is set to become an upper middle-income country within the next decade. The improving conditions in India have been shown in many different sectors throughout the country. It is abundantly clear in sectors like the travel sector, health sector, telecommunications, and the space program.

Improving Conditions in India: Travel

The prime minister of India passed the national civil aviation policy which has had a positive impact on the travel and economy in India. It was passed in an effort to make flying more affordable for India’s growing middle class. The national civil aviation policy states that domestic carriers no longer have to operate for five years before they can fly abroad. This change immediately affected Vistara and AirAsia India. The number of passengers on domestic flights increased by 21 percent to over 80 million passengers and this number is estimated to reach 300 million by 2022.

The government has also lowered prices of domestic travel, only on the less popular routes, to be capped at $37 each hour of air travel. This has increased travel within India and has helped airports and airlines welcome more business which has had a large effect on the improving conditions in India. The effect has been shown through increased jobs in the travel industry and stimulating the economy in other parts of the country with new travelers that will purchase things in new cities like hotel rooms, food or even souvenirs.    

Improving Health

The life expectancy in India has doubled in just approximately 70 years. It has gone from 35 years in 1950 to almost 70 years today. This has come from various changes throughout India. One of the biggest changes is the access to toilets in the country. As a result of the efforts of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is a movement in India that aims to clean up the city, infrastructure and rural areas of the country. From the efforts of this program, millions of more people have access to toilets in India which has greatly helped improve conditions.  

Improving Telecommunication

The government of India has recently wanted to improve telecommunication in the north-eastern states of the country. To do this the government has invested around $1.7 billion to fund projects that will help the telecommunication throughout the country. These improvements are set to be completed by December of this year. There has been a deal signed between Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Universal Service Obligation Fund (USO) to set up almost 7,000 mobile towers in over 8,000 cities and along the highway in Northeast India. This deal hopes to help people in rural areas of India have the same access to ICT services at affordable prices as people in the bigger cities have. Phase one of this deal was completed in December 2017 which laid a great amount optical fiber cable covering 109,926 GPs (Gram Panchayats) and over 100,00 of them are ready for service. This means that more people throughout rural areas of India have access to high-speed internet at an affordable price which is only helping the country become an upper-middle income country even faster.  

The Space Program

Just over a year ago the Indian Space Research Organization launched multiple record-breaking satellites into space showing the world that India has a strong space program. It launched 104 nano-satellites and a larger satellite for Earth observation. Then even before that, in 2014, it launched the Mars Orbiter Mission. India was the only country to do that on the first attempt and with a budget of only $73 million. The Space Foundation estimates that these smaller inexpensive satellites that India has been building will be of great demand in the next few years. These innovative and cheap satellites and a boost in the Indian Space Research Organization has brought and will continue to bring money into the economy of India. It will create jobs and stimulate the economy.  

Each of these sectors has greatly improved in India in the past several years and will continue to help India to become a less impoverished country and move forward to become an upper-middle-class income country in the next few years.

– Ronni Winter

Photo: Flickr

The World is Getting Better
Bill Gates recently named
Enlightenment Now his “new favorite book of all time.” Written by Harvard cognitive scientist Steven Pinker, Enlightenment Now makes a persuasive case for the numerous ways in which the world is getting better, safer, healthier and more prosperous. Acutely aware of our negativity bias — the tendency to respond more strongly to negative news — Pinker seeks to provide a contrasting story to what leads in the news. The result is a holistic view of human progress. Here are three ways Pinker demonstrates how the world is getting better:

Life

Life expectancy has risen dramatically since the late nineteenth century, while child and maternal mortality has fallen dramatically. What is more, these trends are not exclusive to wealthy, developed nations. While increasing life expectancy in Africa and Asia has lagged behind Europe and the Americas, people all over the world are living 35 years longer than they did in 1860.

Health

To demonstrate the dramatic breakthroughs in human health in the past few centuries, Pinker runs through the dwindling impacts of the worst infectious diseases, as well as a graveyard of afflictions conquered by science, economic development and humanity’s “expanding circle of sympathy.”

By Pinker’s measure, the chlorination of water and eradication of smallpox and measles alone contributes to 428 million saved lives.

Peace

The constant coverage of conflict zones in the news belies the diminishing currency of war. Pinker points to three downward trends as evidence — great power wars, battle deaths and genocide deaths. Pinker holds “trade, democracy, economic development, peace-keeping forces, and international law” responsible for a world that is becoming more and more peaceful.

Pinker is remarkably thorough in his treatment of human progress. Not only does he include the obvious indicators like life-expectancy and mortality, Pinker throws in improving equal rights, wealth, quality of life and the prevalence of lighting strikes, among other esoterica.

However, Pinker is well aware that while the data supports his argument, human nature does not. As a result of our negativity bias, there is a gulf between the facts of progress and our perception of it. Bridging this gulf is the reason for the book, and likely the reason Bill Gates, who dubs himself an “impatient optimist,” is so fond of it; things are getting better and nobody is noticing. Or more accurately, things are getting better and people think things are getting worse.

Maintaining a Positive Outlook

The first graph that appears in the book — one of seventy-five charts and figures — measures the tone of the news over time by tracking the prevalence of positive and negative-associated words appearing in world broadcasts and the New York Times. According to the news, the world is becoming gloomier; Pinker begs to differ. It is no justification for complacency, but in his perspective, the world is getting better.

– Whiting Tennis

Photo: Flickr

The Effects of Poverty

Poverty can have lasting impacts on both the people and communities in which it is present. The effects of poverty are often detrimental to both the health and education of people that are affected by it, and can lead to higher crime and mortality rates in neighborhoods and countries where the poverty level is high.

More than 10,000 children die every day because they live in poor housing. The effects of poverty on children are even more dangerous than for adults, because children are still developing. While in their developing stages, without access to healthy living conditions or secure access to food and water, children easily succumb to both disease and death. Living in a house that does not have adequate ventilation or proper heating can cause lasting damage to a child’s health, if they survive at all.

Poverty also affects education for people of all ages. Younger students will not be able to afford school supplies or clothes for school. As students get older, without a scholarship, secondary education and college are out of the question. Sometimes, even with a scholarship, they are not able to attend, because they have a family to support at home and need to work. Without adequate education, many people end up working for minimal pay, which keeps them impoverished for the duration of their lives and continues the cycle of poverty within the home.

The effects of poverty include high crime rates in affected communities. People without the proper resources to survive often resort to theft and violence in order to survive. Oftentimes, in high poverty areas there are also high unemployment rates, and because people are unable to obtain jobs, they resort to crime because they feel they have no other options.

The cycle of continued poverty also has a significant negative effect on the health of citizens. Substance abuse is often higher in areas with high poverty rates. This only continues to drive families deeper into poverty and continues the vicious cycle of poverty in the community. There are also more crippling accidents, because people in poverty tend to take jobs in unsafe working conditions to make money.

Poverty also has the power to divide society. The lower class is pitted against the higher class and vice-versa. This allows the gap between the two to become even larger without a chance to rectify the problem. In countries with large gaps between the two classes, the middle class is often small or nonexistent, which is an important stepping stone for people in a lower class to earn better wages. As that class disappears, the amount of impoverished citizens will continue to grow.

The effects of poverty are plentiful and widespread. The amount of crime, violence and death that run rampant in communities with high poverty rates are no coincidence, and are a direct result of the amount of poverty in that area. In order to diminish crime and violence in these areas, poverty has to be diminished first.

– Simone Williams

Photo: Flickr

lowest life expectancy in the world
Out of the established 224 countries on the earth, these are the bottom five with the lowest life expectancy in the world. The countries listed below range from an average lifespan of 52.1 years to 50.6 years old.

Five Countries with the Lowest Life Expectancy in the World

  1. Swaziland
    Swaziland has the fifth-lowest life expectancy in the world at an average of 52.1 years. Swaziland is the only country on this list with men living, on average, longer than women. As of 2016, the top two reasons for deaths were HIV/AIDS and lower respiratory infections.However, Swaziland is one of the countries receiving help from USAID. One of the top priorities of USAID is fighting against HIV/AIDS by preventing sexual transmission, increasing the prevalence of male circumcision, improving institutions and training, lessening the impact of HIV/AIDS and decentralizing care and treatment. With USAID’s continued assistance and its partnerships within the African nation, there is a chance that the average lifespan in Swaziland can increase above 52.1 years.
  1. Gabon
    With an average lifespan of 52.1 years, Gabon is ranked number four for the lowest life expectancy in the world. Despite being rated so low, Gabon has a robust oil-dependent economy, making it a middle-income country.Due to this income status, it is ineligible for relief programs such as Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization. This ineligibility may be why HIV/AIDS and heart disease are the top two reasons for death in the country, contributing to the low life expectancy.
  1. Afghanistan
    The only country not in Africa, Afghanistan is ranked at number three with an average lifespan of 51.7 years. This ranking may increase over time through help from USAID.In Afghanistan, USAID is working to promote health and education, both critical factors in raising life expectancies. USAID and its partners are making substantial strides to improve the healthcare for Afghans. For example, in 2016, the organization began a project to help reduce malnutrition and increase access to safe water and sanitation.USAID is also working toward making essential health services available and improving the quality and quantity of medicines. These resources, once available to Afghans, grant the nation a high potential to no longer be one of the countries with the lowest life expectancy in the world.
  1. Guinea-Bissau
    The second-to-last country with the lowest life expectancy in the world is Guinea-Bissau, averaging about 51 years of life. Aid for Africa is working in Guinea-Bissau with programs that help improve health and education, create businesses and protect wildlife.Another program through Aid for Africa, called Tostan, works by using local languages and traditions to promote democracy, problem-solving, human rights, hygiene and health. Through this program, successful countries have become more prosperous as well as healthier. With the continued implementation of programs such as these, Guinea-Bissau could improve its quantity of life.
  1. Chad
    Chad has the lowest life expectancy in the world at an average lifespan of 50.6 years. The life expectancy in this nation is so low because it has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality and high infant mortality as well.USAID has several programs to help those living in Chad. USAID and the U.N. World Food Programme are working together to distribute food and make sure access to food is readily available all over the country.Starting in 2018, programs such as In-Kind Food Aid, Local and Regional Food Procurement, Cash Transfers for Food and Food Vouchers all will be funded to help citizens. With these various programs helping improve health and nutrition, sources are working with Chad to increase the average lifespan.

World life expectancy continues to increase on the whole, but these five countries are still lagging behind. In order to increase the longevity and potential of their citizens’ lives, they will require targeted aid and a focus on infrastructure and healthcare.

– Amber Duffus

Photo: Flickr

life expectancy in Nigeria
Nigeria has one of the lowest life expectancy rates in the world; in 2017, the country ranked 214th out of 224 nations. The current life expectancy in Nigeria is 53.8 years, with women living slightly longer than men.

Though the life expectancy in Nigeria is one of the lowest in the world, it has increased notably in recent decades. In 2000, the life expectancy in Nigeria was only 46.26 years; more than seven years lower than the current life expectancy rate. This increase reflects the current global trend of life expectancy rates increasing.

Some developed countries are expected to have an average life expectancy of 90 years within the next decade. Though Nigeria still has a long way to go before its life expectancy rates are near these levels, the country has been making changes that have led to this growth in life expectancy, and will continue to increase this rate in the future.

One of the ways that Nigeria has increased its life expectancy rate is through the increased healthcare improvements for women and children in the country. In 2015, three Nigerian states, Adamawa, Nasarawa, and Ondo, made healthcare improvements that were possible due to funding primarily from the World Bank, as well as other partners. These healthcare improvements made it possible for more than nine million people to gain access to improved healthcare facilities.

More specifically, pregnant women in these regions now have access to healthcare facilities. This is significant because one of the leading causes of death in Nigeria is attributed to infant mortality. With pregnant women and mothers gaining better access to healthcare services, there is an increased chance that their children will be able to receive more advanced medical attention that could potentially save their lives.

An additional factor potentially leading to the recent increase in the life expectancy in Nigeria is improved sanitation policies and practices. In Nigeria, more than 124,000 children under the age of five die because of diarrhea, mainly due to unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene. One advancement made recently to combat this is the eradication of guinea worm disease; in 2013, Nigeria was certified as being free of the disease.

In addition to the strides being made in water sanitation in Nigeria, there has also been an emphasis placed on ending open defecation. High volumes of open defecation lead to increased health risks, such as cholera. In 2016, Nigeria officially had over 16,000 open defecation-free communities. In 2008, only approximately 15 communities were considered to be open defecation free. This large reduction of open defecation has been achieved largely because of the development of a National Roadmap for the elimination of open defecation in Nigeria by 2025, which is supported by UNICEF.

Though the life expectancy in Nigeria is still one of the lowest in the world, it is increasing at a steady rate. With the future continuation of increased access to medical facilities, specifically for women and children, and continued sanitation efforts, there is hope that Nigeria as a nation will be able to make even larger strides in increasing the life expectancy rate for Nigerian citizens.

– Nicole Stout

Photo: Flickr