Life Expectancy Increasing Despite Health Care Inequalities

Life expectancy is always a hot topic, especially when considering a broad spectrum of countries. Despite all of the civil wars and continuing fatal diseases in the world, the latest release from the United Nations reveals that life expectancy is still improving and making good gains especially in the developed world. In this article, we look at the latest figures on longevity and also the continuing inequality in access to health care holding it back in many developing countries.

Average Life Expectancy Is Increasing

The latest report from the World Health Organization revealed the surprising data that average global life expectancy has increased by five full years. Yet the same data demonstrates that there are terrible inequalities in health care access in some countries holding the figures back there. Life expectancy worldwide did grow between the years 2000 and 2015 at the quickest pace dating back to the 1960’s.

The most substantial improvements took place in the Africa Region of the WHO. They cited this as due to significant gains in malaria control, child survival rates, and the availability of HIV treatments on the continent. Life expectancy in Africa rose most dramatically by an impressive 9.4 years to top 60 years here.

Both men and women showed similar survival rate trends too. Women living in Japan and men dwelling in Switzerland can anticipate living longer than anyone else. Japanese women look forward to 87 years while Swiss men anticipate 81 years of life. The lowest life expectancy in the world is found in Sierra Leone, where both women and men live for similar spans. The women manage 51 years expectancy while the men have only 49.

Other Important Life Expectancy Statistics

The term life expectancy from birth refers to a national population’s total level of mortality. This incorporates the mortality pattern prevalent through a given year’s age groups, including adolescents, children, the elderly, and adults. Worldwide life expectancy for 2016 came in at 72 years total, which included 69.8 years for men and 74.2 years for women. This ranged from the African Region’s 61.2 years on up to the European region’s 77.5 years. It left a dramatic ratio of 1.3 between Europe and Africa. All over the world, women outlive men. While the life expectancy gap between women and men in the year 2000 was 4.3 years, in 2016 it sat at nearly the same figure of 4.4 years.

The worldwide life expectancy grew by 5.5 years from 2000 to 2016, representing the quickest improvement from the 1960’s. Such improvements turned around the decline of the 1990’s, a time when Africa life expectancy decreased thanks to the AIDS epidemic and Eastern European expectancy declined after the Soviet Union’s devastating collapse. Africa enjoyed the biggest increase in life expectancy from years 2000-2016 as life expectancy grew by around 10 years and reached 61.2 years total. Survival rate of children drove this massively improving statistic.

These 2016 World Health Statistics concentrate on the SDG Sustainable Development Goals approved by every United Nations’ member country back in September of 2015. The goal of these SDG’s is to attain a future that is more sustainable for everyone. These focus on delivering clean and affordable energy, ending inequality and poverty, diminishing the effects of climate change, encouraging peace, and providing superior access for education.

This Life Expectancy Improvement Occurred Despite the Remainder of Stark Health Service Access Inequalities

Yet even with the impressive worldwide life expectancy gains, stubborn inequalities around the various regions endure. Children’s life expectancy is heavily dependent on which country they are born in today. For those fortunate enough to be born in one of 29 higher income nations, they can anticipate an average life expectancy amounting to over 80 years. On the other extreme, those newborns from 22 sub Saharan African nations only have a less than 60 year long life expectancy.

It shows how uneven the last 16 years in gains were. Prior WHO Director General Dr. Margaret Chan argues that the best thing that can be done to be certain no one gets left behind is to promote stronger primary medical care in a universal health covered world.

The WHO statistics from 2016 considered available access to 16 critical services. Results revealed that access to universal health coverage remains a huge concern, particularly in the Eastern Mediterranean and African regions. Besides this, a great number of individuals must pay huge health care costs out of their own pockets.

The report unveiled the health care services’ inequalities for access and availability. The most equal countries for health care access include Swaziland, Costa Rica, Thailand, the Maldives, Uzbekistan, Jordan, and Mongolia. This includes maternal, reproductive, child health, and newborn care for their own respective regions.

Premature Deaths Are Still All Too Commonplace

The 2016 World Health Statistics reveal that today millions of individuals still die prematurely each year. More than 10 million individuals suffer from either cancer or heart disease and expire before 70 years old. Almost six million die before they reach five years of age. Cooking fuel related air pollution kills around 4.3 million individuals. Outdoors pollution killed over three million people. Injuries in road traffic accidents led to the death of 1.25 million. Women suffered 303,000 premature deaths due to complications in childbirth and pregnancy. Suicide took the lives of over 800,000 individuals. Fully 475,000 people were murdered.

Besides this, millions of individuals caught tuberculosis, HIV, or malaria. These three diseases take 225 million individuals each year. Fully 1.7 billion human beings need treatment and care for neglected tropical diseases, per the WHO report.

This report also singled out some important gaps in the data that have to be filled in order for the WHO to effectively track the SDG’s progress. One of these is that roughly 53 percent of all worldwide deaths do not get recorded. This is true even when nations including China, Brazil, Iran, Turkey, and South Africa have seen significant advances in this area of reporting. Risk factors for death and disease globally also need to be effectively tackled.