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[afro-nets] AIDS Is Cutting African Life Span to 30-Year Low

  • Subject: [afro-nets] AIDS Is Cutting African Life Span to 30-Year Low
  • From: Dr Rana Jawad Asghar <jawad@alumni.washington.edu>
  • Date: Thu, 18 Dec 2003 13:31:41 +0500
  • Cc:

AIDS Is Cutting African Life Span to 30-Year Low


December 18, 2003
AIDS Is Cutting African Life Span to 30-Year Low, Report Says


GENEVA, 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 5.

The 194-page report, which includes information on life expec-
tancy, 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 introduction.

"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 devel-
oping 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 Swit-
zerland it was 80.6, and it was 80.4 in Sweden and 79.7 in

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

"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 al-
most 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 respon-
sible for about five million deaths a year.

It said that in 2002, over 1.2 million people died of lung can-
cer - largely caused by smoking - which was a 30 percent in-
crease 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