Nestled in the heart of the Himalayan mountains, Nepal has long been praised for its beauty and local culture. As the country continues to develop, there have been trends and statistics that show the true physical well-being of the population as a whole, particularly regarding the life expectancy in Nepal. As with all countries, there are many pieces that come into play when determining a country’s life expectancy, and they vary wildly depending on the region. Here we will take a look at 10 facts about life expectancy in Nepal and the contributing factors that affect those numbers.
10 Facts About Life Expectancy in Nepal
- Twenty-five percent of the population in Nepal lives below the poverty line. There are many things that influence life expectancy rates, and many of those are attributed to financial insecurity. With one-quarter of Nepal’s population living in classified poverty, they are unable to afford the most basic of healthcare and even food, leading to shorter and more difficult lives.
- Nepal has high infant mortality rates. In Nepal, 35 out of every 1,000 children die in infancy. Due to a lack of proper facilities and practitioners qualified for natal and infant care, over three percent of children die before they reach the age of five.
- Almost 1,000,000 Nepali people are unemployed. Unemployment can affect many people in many ways; without access to jobs and the consequent benefits, it can make life a struggle similar to that of those living in poverty.
- Malnourishment rates are high. Approximately 5 million Nepali children are malnourished. Studies conducted within the last decade have shown that nutrition directly correlates to certain health conditions, and that malnourishment is linked with lower life expectancy.
- Nepal is prone to natural disasters. Despite being in one of the most scenic parts of the world, Nepal’s mountain location in the heart of the Himalayas poses risk to the population. Its location leaves the Nepali people vulnerable to a host of different natural disasters, including floods, landslides and earthquakes. These natural disasters are another factor to take into account when calculating life expectancy.
- Regardless of negative factors, life expectancy numbers in Nepal are rising. Data obtained from British medical journal Lancet shows recent findings of life expectancy increasing among the Nepali population. Going up over 12 years within two decades, the numbers are rising and show no signs of stopping. This noticeable increase has several causes such as improvements in health care, job access rates and better living conditions.
- Nepal’s public health care system is improving. Another reason for rising life expectancy rates in Nepal is the continuing development of their public health care system. The Nepal government has committed to enacting a universal health coverage plan and is a crucial factor in raising life expectancy. While the government and donor-funded health care plan is still in the early stages, once fully developed it will open up a world of benefits to those in need, particularly affecting people with chronic illnesses and diseases and allowing them to receive better care.
- Maternal mortality rates are lowering. Going hand-in-hand with Nepal’s expanding health care system, studies are showing that maternal mortality rates are dropping. Within 25 years, the country has reduced the national maternal mortality rate drastically, going from 901 deaths per 100,000 births down to 258. That seventy-one percent decrease is largely due to more equipped facilities and trained medical personnel, which in turn minimizes the number of unsupervised home births.
- Educational systems are improving. According to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the enrollment rate in primary schools has risen to 97 percent over the last 20 years. These numbers show the slow elevation of educational access in Nepal, but there is still a long way to go. UNICEF has partnered with the country’s government to initiate a four-year improvement plan in hopes of providing even higher quality education to more students across the country. Increasing these educational opportunities allow for jobs and other options otherwise inaccessible, leading to higher quality and longer lives.
- Nepal is beginning to manage the future. Ensuring that the elderly citizens of Nepal are being well taken care of is essential for a thriving population and will increase life expectancy. By spending more of the budget on pension and medical care for the elderly, Nepal has displayed a commitment to safeguarding the wellbeing of future generations.
In a recent study of more than 188 countries, Nepal was in the top 10 countries to have significantly improved life expectancy rates. The many factors that are consistently being improved upon—such as health care, job access, educational opportunities and positive lifestyle influences—are proving their worth. Despite facing many challenges to still overcome, Nepal is making many improvements that will ensure longer, healthier lives for the Nepali people.
– Olivia Bendle