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Life expectancy rises 10 years across Africa

Words by Smiley Team

Between 2000 and 2019, people’s life expectancy across Africa has risen by about 10 years – a trend that’s continuing today.

While the average quality years in the continent is still lower than international averages, according to a WHO report, the average increased to 56 years in 2019, compared with 46 in 2000. The international average is 64 years.

“While still well below the global average of 64, over the same period, global healthy life expectancy increased by only five years,” the report explained.

This data spans 47 of the 54 countries in Africa that make up the WHO Africa region.

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“The sharp rise in healthy life expectancy during the past two decades is a testament to the region’s drive for improved health and well-being of the population," said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

"At its core, it means that more people are living healthier, longer lives, with fewer threats of infectious diseases and with better access to care and disease prevention services. But the progress must not stall. Unless countries enhance measures against the threat of cancer and other noncommunicable diseases, the health gains could be jeopardized.”

Another thing that has challenged the progress in Africa is the Covid-19 pandemic, as many countries in the region reported major disruptions due to the pandemic. According to a WHO survey, more than 90% of the 36 countries that responded reported one or more disruptions to essential health services, with immunization, neglected tropical diseases, and nutrition services suffering higher disruptions.

“COVID-19 has shown how investing in health is critical to a country’s security. The better Africa can cope with pandemics and other health threats, the more our people and economies thrive."

Inspired to Act?

DONATE: Healthy Women Healthy Liberia is an organization that helps provide medical care to women in Liberia. Consider donating. 

SUPPORT: Read more about what’s happening with WHO’s work in Africa look here.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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