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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”




AIDS Is Cutting African Life Span to 30-Year Low, Report Says

December 18, 2003
ENEVA, Thursday, Dec. 18 - In AIDS-ravaged parts of southern Africa adult
mortality is higher than it was 30 years ago, the World Health Organization
said Thursday.

In 14 African countries, the United Nations agency said in its annual World
Health Report, child mortality is higher than it was in 1990, with more than
300 children out of every 1,000 born in Sierra Leone dying before the age of

The 194-page report, which includes information on life expectancy, road
traffic deaths and the fight against polio and AIDS, also warned of a
growing gulf in health care and exposure to disease between the poorest
countries and other countries.

The report concluded that life expectancy is on the increase in most of the
world, but it also highlighted problem areas.

"Today's global health situation raises urgent questions about justice," Dr.
Jong Wook Lee, the director general of the health agency, wrote in an

"In some parts of the world there is a continued expectation of longer and
more comfortable life, while in many others there is despair over the
failure to control disease though the means to do so exist."

Of the 57 million premature deaths in 2002, 10.5 million were children
younger than 5, and 98 percent of those were in developing countries.

In Zimbabwe, the average life expectancy for men and women was 37.9; in
Zambia it was 39.7; and in Angola it was 39.9. In Switzerland it was 80.6,
and it was 80.4 in Sweden and 79.7 in France.


A baby girl born now in Japan could expect to live 85 years, while one born
in Sierra Leone would probably not survive beyond 36.

"A world marked by such inequities is in very serious trouble," Dr. Lee
wrote. "We have to find ways to unite our strengths as a global community to
shape a healthier future."

The report said AIDS was the leading cause of death for people between 15
and 59, reducing the life expectancy of adults in Botswana, Lesotho,
Swaziland and Zimbabwe by 20 years.

Deaths from the virus and the complications it brings were almost twice
those from the next top killer - heart disease - and well over twice as high
as the toll from the third most fatal disease - tuberculosis - according to
the report.

The health agency said diseases related to tobacco were responsible for
about five million deaths a year.

It said that in 2002, over 1.2 million people died of lung cancer - largely
caused by smoking - which was a 30 percent increase over 1990. Three out of
four of those who died were men, the agency said.

Among men, average life expectancy is 77.9 years in Australia and 75.9 in
France. In China, the average man lives to 69.6, in Brazil to 65.7 and in
Egypt to 65.3.


But in Russia, a man can expect to live to only 58.4

Dr Rana Jawad Asghar
Program Manager Child Survival, Mozambique
Provincial Coordinator Sofala Province, Mozambique
Health Alliance International, Seattle, WA, USA
Coordinator South Asian Public Health Forum