Located off the coast of Western Africa, the Republic of Cabo Verde is a chain of 10 islands with a population of more than 500,000 people. A former Portuguese colony, Cabo Verde’s economy was heavily based on the Atlantic slave trade. Post independence, the country and its citizens remain impacted by the effects of poverty, including a life expectancy lower than that of many other nations. Here are seven facts about life expectancy in Cabo Verde.
7 Facts About Life Expectancy in Cabo Verde
- Life expectancy in Cabo Verde is on the rise. As of 2018, Cabo Verde has a life expectancy at birth of 72.7 years, placing it at 147th in the world. For males, life expectancy is 70.3 years, while females have a life expectancy of 75.1 years. In 1960, life expectancy at birth was 48.9 years, or 47.7 years for males and 50 years for females. Life expectancy rose rapidly from the 1960s through the mid-2000s and has since been more stable, increasing slightly from year to year.
- The country has made huge strides in terms of health care provision. As of 2014, there are more than 250 doctors in Cabo Verde compared with only 13 doctors in 1975. Furthermore, the government is continually working toward universal access to health care and today, “more than 80 percent of the population lives within 30 minutes of a health facility.”
- Telemedicine bridges the gap. This innovation is helping to make medical care accessible for those residents who still face barriers to visiting a medical specialist such as cardiologists or dermatologists in person. From 2012 to 2014, the Cabo Verdean government, in collaboration with the International Virtual e-Hospital Foundation and with financial support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia, implemented the Integrated Telemedicine and e-Health Program (ITeHP). The ITeHP involves 10 telemedicine centers throughout the country, where patients can have remote consultations with a specialist.
- Sanitation access is poor. Access to clean water and functional sanitation systems is critical to preventing the spread of disease. According to a 2017 article from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), 16 percent of people in urban areas and 54 percent of people in rural areas did not have access to flushing toilets.
- The Cabo Verdean government is working to improve sanitation. In 2012, the government partnered with the MCC on an economic growth plan, one aspect of which included a water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) project. As of November 2017, the project had resulted in 2,277 new sanitation facilities and 227 kilometers of water pipeline construction.
- Infant mortality rates have been steadily decreasing. In 1969, Cabo Verde had an infant mortality rate of 126 per 1,000 births. As of 2017, the rate has dropped to 15 per 1,000 births.
- Immunization rates in Cabo Verde are high. For the DTP1 vaccine, which protects against diphtheria and tetanus, the 2018 immunization rate was an estimated 99 percent. The same is true of the polio and measles vaccines.
Cabo Verde’s economic history has led to difficulties in health care and sanitation, but in recent decades the nation has made impressive improvements, which has led to an increase in life expectancy in Cabo Verde. Many citizens of the country still live in poverty, but these seven facts about life expectancy in Cabo Verde show how nongovernmental organizations and the Cabo Verdean government are working to help people manage their health.
– Meredith Charney
Photo: Wikimedia Commons