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
mortality is higher than it was 30 years ago, the World Health
In 14 African countries, the United Nations agency said in its
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
traffic deaths and the fight against polio and AIDS, also
warned of a
growing gulf in health care and exposure to disease between
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
failure to control disease though the means to do so
Of the 57 million premature deaths in 2002, 10.5 million were
younger than 5, and 98 percent of those were in developing
In Zimbabwe, the average life expectancy for men and women was
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
and 59, reducing the life expectancy of adults in Botswana,
Swaziland and Zimbabwe by 20 years.
Deaths from the virus and the complications it brings were
those from the next top killer - heart disease - and well over
twice as high
as the toll from the third most fatal disease - tuberculosis -
The health agency said diseases related to tobacco were
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 http://www.saphf.org