Sierra Leone has the world’s lowest life expectancy for both sexes that is 50.8 years for women and 49.3 years for men.
This comes despite the fact that Africa experienced the largest global growth in life expectancy of 9.4 years between 2000 and 2015, according to the “2016 World Health Statistics: Monitoring Health for the SDGs”.
— WHO (@WHO) May 19, 2016
The world has made great strides in reducing the needless suffering and premature deaths that arise from preventable and treatable diseases.
But the World Health Organization (WHO) says, “major inequalities persist within and among countries”.
The WHO added that improvements in outcomes for all major causes of deaths have contributed to the huge gains.
Of the 47 countries in the WHO’s Africa region, Algeria had the highest life expectancy of 75.6 years followed by island nations Mauritius with 74.6 years and Cape Verde 73.3 years, Seychelles 73.2 years and Soa Tome and Principe 67.5 years.
Senegal and Ghana were the only west African countries ranked among the top 20 African countries with life expectancies of 66.7 years and 62.4 years respectively.
South Africa, considered the continent’s most industrialised country ranked 18th just above Ghana with a life expectancy of 62.9 years.
East Africa’s economic power house, Kenya ranked 16th with a life expectancy of 63.4 years whiles West Africa’s most buoyant economy, Ivory Coast had a poor showing at the 43rd position with 53.3 years.
Nigeria, the continent’s most populous nation ranked 41st with a life expectancy of 54.5 years.
Central African Republic, Angola and Sierra Leone conclude the list for Africa and the world with 52.5 years, 52.4 years and 50.1 years respectively.
There have been dramatic gains in life expectancy across the world since 2000, increasing by 5 years since 2000 and 2015.
The top five countries in the world with the highest life expectancy were Japan – 83.7 years, Switzerland – 83.4 years, Singapore – 83.1 years, Australia – 82.8 years and Spain – 82.8 years.
Global life expectancy according to the WHO report has been improving at a rate of more than 3 years per decade since 1950, with the exception of the 1990s when the progress stalled in Africa because of the rising HIV epidemic and in Europe because of increased mortality in many ex-Soviet states following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The increase in progress however accelerated from 2000 onwards and was more pronounced in Africa due to improvements in child survival, progress in malaria control and expanded access to anti-retrovirals for treating HIV .
“The world has made great strides in reducing the needless suffering and premature deaths that arise from preventable and treatable diseases” said the WHO Director General, Dr. Margaret Chan.
Global life expectancy for children born in 2015 was pegged at 71.4 years (73.8 years for females and 69.1 years for males), but it may vary depending on where a child is born.
The report showed that newborns in 29 countries (high-income) have an average life expectancy of 80 years or more, while those in 22 others in sub-Saharan Africa have a life expectancy of less than 60 years.
With an average lifespan of 86.8 years, Japanese women can live the longest while men in Switzerland enjoy the longest average survival for men, that is 81.3 years.