Global Life Expectancy Rises 46 to 73 Years – WHO


The World Health Organisation says global life expectancy for both sexes has increased from 46 to 73 years, with the biggest gains being in the poorest countries.

WHO’s Director-General, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, said this during an online media conference.

He noted that after years of war, the organisation realised that it was better to work with than to fight one another.

He said that the global health body also realised that a healthier world was a safer place.

“Their vision was clear, but bold: the highest possible standard of health, for all people. To achieve that vision, they agreed to set up a new organisation.

“They debated and agreed what this organisation would be and do in a document called the Constitution of the World Health Organisation,” Ghebreyesus said.

According to him, the organisation marked the 75th anniversary of the day its constitution came into force.

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He said that the organisation’s constitution was the first document in history to formally recognise health as a human right.

The WHO boss said that since then, the world has made significant progress towards realising that vision.

He noted that smallpox had been eradicated and polio was on the brink of being combated.

“These are actually two of the important highlights during the 75 years of existence of the organisation. 42 countries have eliminated malaria, the epidemics of HIV and TB have been pushed back. 47 countries have eliminated at least one neglected tropical disease,” he added.

Ghebreyesus said in the past 20 years alone, smoking has fallen by a third, maternal mortality by a third, while child mortality has been halved.

According to him, just in the past five years, new vaccines for Ebola and malaria have been developed and licensed.

He said, “And for the past three years, WHO has coordinated the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic – the most severe health crisis in a century.

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“We can’t claim sole credit for these achievements, but we have played a leading role in all of them. Partnering with many partners, especially our Member States.

“And although we have many achievements of which to be proud, we still face many challenges – some old, some new.

“Around the world, people still face vast disparities in access to health services, between and within countries and communities.”

According to Ghebreyesus, since 2000, access to essential health services has increased significantly, but at least half the world’s population still lacks access to one or more services like family planning, basic sanitation, or access to a health worker.

He said that often times, it was because of where people live, their gender, age, and who they are – people living in poverty, refugees and migrants, people with disabilities, ethnic minorities and other marginalised groups.

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“Meanwhile, since 2000, the number of people who experience financial hardship from out-of-pocket health spending has increased by a third, to almost two billion.

“Noncommunicable diseases now account for more than 70 per cent of all deaths globally. Rates of diabetes and obesity have increased dramatically, driven by unhealthy diets and physical inactivity.

“Progress against malaria and TB has stalled, antimicrobial resistance threatens to unwind a century of medical progress.

“Air pollution and climate change are jeopardising the very habitability of our planet;

“And as COVID-19 has been exposed so brutally, there remain serious gaps in the world’s defences against epidemics and pandemics. For all these reasons and more, the world needs WHO now more than ever,’’ he said.



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