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10 Facts About Life Expectancy in Kazakhstan
Life expectancy in Kazakhstan has been steadily increasing since the mid-1990s. As the world’s largest landlocked country, Kazakhstan is a Central Asian nation that extends into two continents and is abundant with natural resources. Along with Kazakhstan’s increased life expectancy, the country is in a period of economic growth – its economy expanded by 4.1 percent in 2018 due strong private consumption and a higher number of oil exports. Subsequently, poverty in Kazakhstan has fallen to 7.4 percent. Here are 10 facts about life expectancy in Kazakhstan.

10 Facts About Life Expectancy in Kazakhstan

  1. As of July 2018, the population in Kazakhstan was 18.7 million making it the 63rd largest country in the world. With a life expectancy of 71.4 years at birth, women average 76.3 years for life expectancy compared to men at 66.2 years. There is a high mortality rate for men in the former Soviet Union regions due to alcoholism, alcohol-related incidents, diseases and suicide.
  2. The life expectancy rate in Kazakhstan is higher than in other Central Asian countries like Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan. Kazakhstan even has a higher life expectancy rate than Russia, which borders the nation to the North.
  3. Kazakhstan is the ninth largest country by landmass with a population growth rate of 0.98 percent. The largest population clusters appear in the urban areas, both in the far northern and far southern parts of the nation. The interior region of Kazakhstan is mostly remote and uninhabitable.
  4. Rural areas tend to see slower development and infrastructure. While 99 percent of the urban drinking water sources have improved, only 85 percent of the rural population saw improvement. The 14.4 percent of unimproved drinking water sources in rural areas could be a factor in life expectancy rates due to various communicable diseases that thrive in poor hygienic conditions. Two prevalent diseases that affect Kazakh citizens – diarrhea and hepatitis A – are contracted easily from contaminated water.
  5. In less than two decades, Kazakhstan has transitioned from lower-middle-income to upper-middle-income status, according to The World Bank. The poverty rate in Kazakhstan is relatively low, with only 4.3 percent of inhabitants living below the poverty line. This is lower than the majority of Kazakhstan’s Central Asia and Middle East neighbors.
  6. While life expectancy has increased and child and maternal mortality rates have decreased, the government struggles to provide and balance basic health care systems in Kazakhstan. Hospitals are the keystone in health care delivery, with in-patient care utilizing 45 percent of the public health budget. The number of general practitioners and primary-care physicians in Kazakhstan is relatively low. The long lines and lack of specialists may daunt Kazakh citizens when receiving basic health care services.
  7. Kazakhstan is a relatively youthful country with only 7.9 percent of the population being 65 years or older. The largest age structure in Kazakhstan is the 25-54 group that makes up 42.3 percent, making the median age in Kazakhstan 30.9 years. The median age in the United States is 38.2.
  8. Education and literacy can be a factor in life expectancy due to the lifelong economic benefits of an education. Ninety-nine percent of Kazakhstan is literate and the country offers free mandatory education up to the end of high school.
  9. Lifestyle choices, such as diet, are important to note when understanding the factors that influence life expectancy in Kazakhstan. A traditional Kazakh diet is heavily meat-based. There is an abundance of preserved foods due to the diets of the early Kazakh nomads, which include salted or dried meats, fermented dairy products and pickled vegetables. Fresh vegetables are often deficient in the Kazakh diet.
  10. Economic opportunities help citizens to live longer, happier and more fulfilling lives. The Youth Corps Program in Kazakhstan works to support vulnerable youth by developing community projects. For example, a soft-toy making club for disabled youth in the town of Kapchagai provides young people with disabilities the chance to learn new skills and generate a source of income.

Kazakhstan has made significant progress in social and economic reforms in the decades since its independence from the Soviet Union. These 10 facts about life expectancy in Kazakhstan show that the average life expectancy has improved through a reduction of poverty rates and an emphasis on education. Development in rural regions and improving universal health care are imperative to keep Kazakhstan’s life expectancy on the rise.

– Trey Ross
Photo: Flickr

Water Quality in GambiaLocated on the western side of Africa is Gambia, the smallest country within the African continent. Due to its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, Gambia has gained in popularity among tourists around the world. However, the low water quality in Gambia must be improved.

In spite of being the smallest country in Africa, it is a greatly populated one, with a population close to two million citizens. Thus, the combination of a small territory with a lot of people is a major cause of poverty in the Gambia. Within the 187 countries that constitute Africa, Gambia is the 165th most impoverished with a GDP per capita of $1,664.

Along with general poverty, the main problems the country faces relate to the environment. Fifty-seven percent of citizens live in the urban areas of Gambia; the percentage populates rural areas where one-third of the population is poor.

The lack of agricultural resources and seeds, amongst others, are why rural areas regularly face poverty. However, the problem of water quality in Gambia stands out due to its negative impact.

Pollution results in contaminated water, which affects the species and individuals who consume it. Unfortunately, Gambia lacks the sanitation facilities necessary to properly filter water for consumption. Furthermore, harmful compounds can be transmitted by polluted water, which increases the possibility of contracting a dangerous disease or developing further health issues.

The most prevalent waterborne disease in Gambia is diarrhea, the leading cause of death among children under five. Hepatitis A and typhoid fever are also predominant waterborne diseases as well as schistosomiasis.

Contaminated water not only affects those who drink it but can also have harmful effects if used for farming or cooking. It is estimated that 53 percent of Gambia’s population that reside in rural areas have access to clean water.

Needless to say, multiple organizations such as the United Nations Children’s Fund and Childfund International are fighting every day to be able to solve this important and concerning matter.

Identifying the cause of the issue and taking action by delivering water provisions, creating water filters and more, are initiatives that nonprofit organizations are working towards. The water quality in Gambia has already received some help and will get better in a near future.

Paula Gibson

Photo: Pixabay

common diseases in Cyprus

Cyprus, an island in the Mediterranean Sea, gained its independence from Great Britain almost sixty years ago. Today, Cyprus is home to just over 1.2 million people, the vast majority of whom are Greek. These people are governed by the Republic of Cyprus, which is a presidential democracy. As is the case across the world, there are a plethora of common diseases in Cyprus that damage the Middle Eastern nation.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) only recommends that most people who are planning to visit Cyprus receive one vaccination: Hepatitis A. The vaccine is both safe and effective in preventing people from contracting the viral liver illness and mild to severe sickness that results. Contaminated food and water can potentially spread the disease, according to the WHO.

Depending on what one is planning to do in Cyprus, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends the vaccination for Hepatitis B. The activities that put one at risk for Hepatitis B in Cyprus include sexual activity, tattoos or piercings or medical procedures. One of the particularly important similarities between Hepatitis A and B is that vaccinations can prevent both.

Rare diseases are not quite as rare in Cyprus is their name suggests. In fact, it is estimated that over 60,000 people suffer from rare diseases. What are rare diseases? According to Cyprus Mail, “Most rare diseases are genetic and include congenital abnormalities…” Part of what makes combating rare diseases such a challenge is that there are many different types of them that require highly-valuable resources to alleviate.

One action being taken to help the many affected by rare diseases in Cyprus is the opening of a new health center in Nicosia, the nation’s capital, which will provide information and support to people with rare diseases. “This is very helpful because we are under one umbrella,” a woman who was present at the opening said to Cyprus Mail. She went on to say that in the past those who suffered from a rare disease often felt isolated and that they had nowhere to turn.

Hepatitis A and B are two common diseases in Cyprus that people need to take precautions against. Additionally, when grouped together, individual rare diseases are a major problem, but it seems as though steps are being taken to improve the situation.

Adam Braunstein

Photo: Flickr

Top Diseases in Iraq
The people of Iraq face many obstacles to their safety. When discussing the middle eastern country, many focus on the physical threats of violence, terrorism and forceful opposition. Health is also a hazard. Diseases spread in many ways. Infection can be airborne, blood born or spread through food and water. Blood-borne diseases, such as Hepatitis A and B, are a risk in Iraq. The two main transmission types in Iraq are food or water-borne and vector-borne. Here are some of the top diseases in Iraq.

  1. Food or Waterborne
    Hepatitis A is spread through a fecal-oral path. This route of disease infection occurs when fecal matter from an infected person is in the food or water consumed by another person, thus infecting the recipient of the food or water. This is why sanitation is the best precaution other than immunization. The spread of this disease occurs because of poor sanitation in food preparation. The risk of infection is much higher in developing or poor countries due to a lack of proper sanitation, which is why Hepatitis A is one of the top diseases in Iraq.Another food or waterborne disease that contributes to the top diseases in Iraq is Typhoid fever. Typhoid is a bacterial disease that contributes very high fevers. Like Hepatitis A, this is spread through fecal-contaminated food or water. Typhoid fever has a higher mortality rate. If the disease is not treated, one in five do not survive.
  2. Vector-borne
    Vector-borne diseases are spread through animals, insects or parasites. One of the top diseases in Iraq is malaria. Malaria is spread by mosquito bites. The disease causes parasites to accumulate in the liver and attack red blood cells. This often leads to death from interrupted blood supply to vital organs.Another top disease in Iraq is yellow fever. This, again, is spread through the bite of a mosquito. Although the severity varies, there is a mortality rate of 20 percent.

These top diseases in Iraq are less common in developed countries, as there are vaccines available. The economic infrastructure in Iraq does not allow for many of its citizens’ access to such life-saving precautionary medication.

Nate Harris

Photo: Flickr

Top Diseases in Cuba

Following former President Obama’s efforts to reconcile and progress relations between Cuba and the U.S., travel opportunities to the previously forbidden country are now viable. Given that this has been uncharted territory for many decades, it is crucial that travelers are made aware of the top diseases in Cuba so as to take preventative measures before, during and after their travels.

Similar to any internationally planned trip, certain immunizations are required. If traveling to Cuba, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends vaccinations for Typhoid, Rabies and Hepatitis A and B. There are, however, current vector-borne diseases present in Cuba that cannot be vaccinated against, particularly mosquito-borne diseases.

Zika Virus

The ongoing Zika Virus is especially concerning in Cuba given its tropical location where mosquito-borne diseases are prevalent. A global update given on January 23 by the Public Health Agency of Canada affirmed the ongoing issue of Zika, emphasizing that pregnant women should continue to avoid travel to countries that have reported cases of the virus. Typical symptoms such as a fever, headache, conjunctivitis, skin rash, joint and muscle pain can be resolved with regular care.

Dengue Fever

In 1981, a Dengue Fever outbreak in Cuba took the lives of 158 people. Because of this and other past epidemics, thorough safeguarding to further prevent top diseases from growing have been implemented. Nonetheless, Dengue Fever is still a concern in Cuba without a vaccine to protect against it. Symptoms include a fever and headache and can lead to physical shock and hemorrhage.

Chikungunya

Another top disease in Cuba, also carried by mosquitos and insects alike, is Chikungunya. Symptoms include fever, arthritis-like pain and skin rashes.

Thus far, the variance of these mosquito related diseases are vector-borne and do not have a vaccine to prevent or end the contagion. Because of this, the CDC recommends that residents and travelers take any preventative measure necessary to decrease the risk of exposure. Suggestions to protect oneself include caution around food and water sources, using repellent, covering exposed skin, keeping netting around living quarters, avoiding sharing body fluids and keeping away from animals.

After numerous cases of residents being infected with these diseases, Cuba has employed intense preventative measures. Mosquito control workers are assigned to routinely monitor households and local clinics have sent out 15,000 workers to help contain mosquito exposure.

Hepatitis A

Within Cuba are many areas that lack proper sanitation, consequently contaminating water and food sources with fecal matter. Exposure to this type of contamination has been known to cause Hepatitis A, weakening liver function as a result. Although there is a vaccine available for Hepatitis A, those that contract the disease can experience symptoms such as fever, jaundice and diarrhea for up to nine months.

The diplomatic break between Cuba and the U.S. led to a decline in Cuba’s healthcare system causing an insufficient supply of medicine and medical equipment. Infrastructure was also diminished which created impoverished conditions and a spike in water-borne diseases. As the United States and Cuba continue to establish camaraderie, a unified international effort could work toward alleviating the top diseases in Cuba.

Amy Williams

Photo: Flickr

Improving the Water Quality in Djibouti
Water is a human necessity. The issue of water quality in the developing world is one that affects millions of people daily. More than half of the population of the developing world suffers from a water-related disease and about 6,000 children die from a water-related disease every day.

Djibouti, a small country off the eastern coast of Africa, is one of these developing countries. Currently, the country is experiencing a major national water crisis. Citizens in rural areas are the most affected: according to UNICEF, nearly 50% of people in rural communities do not have access to a safe water source.

Despite its coastal location, Djibouti is a country heavily affected by drought due to its arid climate. Most of the country’s water supply comes from groundwater resources, which have dwindled dramatically in recent years because of widespread drought.

Water quality in Djibouti is also a national problem. The little groundwater resources that are available are often of poor quality which has resulted in an epidemic of many waterborne illnesses.

The most high-risk water-related diseases in Djibouti are hepatitis A, hepatitis E and typhoid fever. These illnesses are contracted when people come into direct contact with water contaminated by fecal matter. Typhoid fever is the most deadly of the three, with a mortality rate of 20 percent.

Water conditions are slowly improving in the country thanks to efforts made by UNICEF, the European Union and Djibouti’s Ministry of Agriculture. This partnership, which began in 2007, has given more than 25,000 of the poorest people in rural communities access to clean water close to their homes.

The European Union has given UNICEF 2 million euros toward improving water sanitation in Djibouti. UNICEF also agreed to include an additional 60,000 euros to provide technical expertise.

More still needs to be done to improve the water quality in Djibouti. According to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), about 35% of the rural population has not received any improvements to their water supply.

Luckily, the Djibouti government has shown proactive concern in erasing the national water crisis. With help from UNICEF and the implementation of climate change policy in the country, Djibouti is looking toward a future of increased health and adaptability.

Laura Cassin

Photo: Flickr

Top Diseases in Mexico
Diseases can prove very hard to prevent, control, and treat; and, many countries suffer from maladies that cannot be tamed. Mexico is no exception, and the top diseases in Mexico can inflict a great deal of damage. A summarization of each disease can be found below, including details on how the illness is transmitted and treated, the symptoms, and prevention tactics.

Top Diseases in Mexico

  1. Hepatitis A
    Hepatitis A can be spread via contaminated food or water or spread through person-to-person contact. A person-to-person transmission can occur when an infected person’s stool is ingested by a non-infected person through poor hygiene practices. Poor hygiene and sanitation practices are the results of letting half the country’s population live in abject poverty; without clean drinking water or sewage services, hepatitis A spreads easily and is now endemic to the population of Mexico. To clarify, if a disease is endemic that means the illness is regularly found among a population; for Mexico, hepatitis A is found throughout the entire country.
  2. Dengue Virus
    This virus is transmitted by mosquitos. Symptoms at the beginning of incubation of the virus include a sudden high fever, joint pain and headaches. Dengue is endemic to all of Mexico as well, except for the state of Baja California Norte and other areas of higher elevation because mosquitoes carrying the virus cannot survive at the higher elevations. Dengue may progress into dengue shock syndrome, a rare complication including a hemorrhagic fever, damage to lymph and blood vessels, bleeding from the nose and gums, enlargement of the liver, and even failure of the circulatory system, which can cause death. Taking aspirin accelerates the onset of symptoms of dengue shock syndrome, as aspirin thins the blood, so it is important to quickly ascertain that dengue is causing a patient’s symptoms before administering medication. Protection against contracting the dengue virus is easy: use bug spray, wear layers outdoors, and make sure bug screens in the home have no holes or tears for mosquitoes to fly through. Although seemingly simple, these precautions are monumental tasks for the poor of Mexico, who struggle to provide food for their families, let alone mosquito repellant.

Elevating the Impoverished

Diseases transmitted by mosquitoes are more likely to disproportionately affect those in lower economic classes. The Baker Institute mentions that these diseases, also known as neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), are widespread in Mexico’s poorest southern states such as Chiapas, Oaxaca, Guerrero, and Mayan villages on the outskirts of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Elevating the status and resource access of the impoverished in Mexico is an absolutely essential measure to alleviating the top diseases in Mexico.

Bayley McComb

Photo: CNN

Diseases in MexicoSome of the top diseases in Mexico that people contract are Hepatitis A and the dengue virus. Below, each of the diseases will be summarized, including how they are transmitted, their symptoms, prevalence of the diseases in Mexico and how to combat the diseases.

Hepatitis A can be spread via contaminated food or water or spread through person-to-person contact wherein an infected person’s stool is ingested by a non-infected person through poor hygiene practices.

Poor hygiene and sanitation practices are the results of letting half the country’s population live in abject poverty; without clean drinking water or sewage services, Hepatitis A spreads easily and became endemic to the population of Mexico.

If a disease is endemic, that means it is regularly found among a population; for Mexico, Hepatitis A is found throughout the entire country.

Mosquitos transmit the dengue virus. Its symptoms at the beginning of incubation of the virus, includes a sudden, high fever, joint pain, and headaches.

Dengue is endemic to all of Mexico as well, except for the state of Baja California Norte and other areas of higher elevation, as mosquitoes carrying the virus cannot survive at the higher elevations.

Dengue may progress into dengue shock syndrome, a rare complication including a hemorrhagic fever, damage to lymph and blood vessels, bleeding from the nose and gums, enlargement of the liver, and even failure of the circulatory system, which can cause death.

Taking aspirin accelerates the onset of symptoms of dengue shock syndrome, as aspirin thins the blood, so it is important to quickly ascertain that dengue is causing a patient’s symptoms before administering medication.

Protection against contracting the dengue virus is easy: use bug spray, wear layers outdoors, and make sure bug screens in the home have no holes or tears for mosquitoes to fly through, but these are monumental tasks for the poor of Mexico, who struggle to provide food for their families, let alone mosquito repellant.

Diseases transmitted by mosquitoes like dengue are more likely to disproportionately affect those in lower economic classes. The Baker Institute mentions that these diseases, also known as neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), are widespread in Mexico’s poorest southern states such as Chiapas, Oaxaca, Guerrero, and Mayan villages on the outskirts of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Bayley McComb

Photo: Flickr