By Fatih Erel
GENEVA (AA) – Although new figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) show global average life expectancy has increased by five years since 2000, they also show major inequalities persist within and among countries.
A new WHO report on Thursday revealed that Japanese people on average live 33 years longer than those in Sierra Leone – the country with the lowest life expectancy.
“Life expectancy increased by five years between 2000 and 2015, the fastest increase since the 1960s,” the WHO said.
“The increase was greatest in the African Region of WHO where life expectancy increased by 9.4 years to 60 years, driven mainly by improvements in child survival, progress in malaria control and expanded access to antiretrovirals for treatment of HIV,” the report noted.
According to the WHO, global average life expectancy for children born in 2015 was 71.4 years while newborns in 22 others — all of them in sub-Saharan Africa — have life expectancy of less than 60 years.
The life-expectancy for children in Turkey born in 2015 was 75.8 years (78.9 years for females and 72.6 years for males).
Women in Japan, with an average of 86.8 years, can expect to live the longest. Switzerland has the longest average survival for men, at 81.3 years, while people in Sierra Leone have the world’s lowest life expectancy for both sexes: 50.8 years for women and 49.3 years for men.
According to the report, every year 303,000 women die due to complications of pregnancy and childbirth, almost six million children die before their fifth birthday and more than 10 million people die before the age of 70 due to cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
Out of the 475,000 people murdered every year, 80 percent are men. Around 800,000 people take their own lives per annum.
Although a staggering 1.8 billion people have to drink contaminated water, WHO data say 42 million children aged under five years are overweight.