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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

The widespread poverty, hunger and disease in Central Africa has consistently resulted in the lowest life expectancy in the world. While the global average of life expectancy has risen by roughly five years in the past two decades, central African countries continue to dwell at the statistical bottom. At a typical life expectancy of 50 years, the global community must increase funding and accountability to ensure that poverty and disease cease their decimation of central African populations.

The central African country of Chad was estimated to have the lowest life expectancy in the world for 2017. Chad is a country of 12 million people, 40 percent of which live below the poverty line. While the country began oil production in the early 2000s, Chad’s poverty rate is expected to continue its rise. In part, this is due to the country’s high mortality rate and low life expectancy. To gauge the ability of the U.S. and other developed nations to help increase Chadians’ average lifespan of only 50.60 years, it is first necessary to examine the causes of death.

Early Deaths

Children in Chad die from all sorts of illnesses, from malaria and respiratory infections to prematurity and diarrhea. Because so few Chadians have access to birth control, as only approximately five percent use contraception, the birth rate in Chad is growing. 43 percent of the population is aged 14 or younger, and that figure is rising. The risk of dying by this young age is 44 percent for boys and 39 for girls, as of 2012.

Furthermore, Chad has the third highest maternal mortality rate in the world. Extreme poverty, poor to no maternal health care and adolescent pregnancy has contributed greatly to the high maternal death rates. In a country with the lowest life expectancy in the world, the extreme poverty rates must decrease and better access to maternal healthcare is essential if the country is to improve.

Diseases

Chad, like many African nations, is no stranger to disease. Lower respiratory diseases, malaria, HIV/AIDS and diarrhoeal infections are dangerously common. Lower respiratory infections alone killed 24,700 people in 2012. The risk factors for falling prey to these diseases are lack of adequate healthcare, a rarity of potable water and the hot and arid climate. As the largest of Africa’s landlocked countries, Chadians are forced to walk long distances for water.

As only 28 percent of the population lives in urban areas, the vast majority of Chadians do not have quick access to necessities such as water and healthcare. As the country with the world’s lowest life expectancy, it is vital that Chad provide better access to these basic human needs to the entirety of its landscape.

The U.S. is in a unique position to provide monetary and medicinal assistance. Maintaining accountability with the Chadian government regarding these resources would be the most effective way to ensure that taxpayer dollars are going to good use and can be reflected by a rising life expectancy for the people of Chad, and all over Central Africa.

– Eric Paulsen

Photo: Flickr