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Kenya’s life expectancy takes a leap

There is good news for the people of Kenya – the life expectancy of the average Kenyan has now jumped to 64 years from the earlier figure of 55 years, according to a report released on Sunday.The data that was compiled by the University of Nairobi in partnership with 12 other universities reveals that the life span of Kenyans has increased considerably and they can expect to live longer.

The report, State Of The Tropics, states that Zimbabwe is the only country in the world that recorded a decline in life expectancy at 47 years.

Madagascar reported the largest improvement in life expectancy at 65.8 years, with substantial reduction in infant and adult mortality rates.

The facts and figures pertaining to life expectancy in the tropics that was published shows marked improvements in life expectancy over the past 60 years. Prof George Magoha, Vice Chancellor, University of Nairobi said there was a substantial gap between the Tropics and the rest of the world.

The report mentions the challenges people living in the torrid zone are facing and the efforts to improve their lives and environment.

The report also states that infant mortality in the tropics has fallen from 161 deaths per 1000 live births to 58 between 1950 and today, but in the rest of the world it is 33. An exception to the rule is Central and Southern Africa, where although the infant mortality rates have fallen significantly, high mortality rates in the non-infant population, largely attributed to HIV and Aids, have affected the overall improvements in life expectancy. The report also mentions that in 2008, more than half the deaths in Zimbabwe were related to HIV and Aids— the highest rate in the world.

And, of the ten nations with the lowest life expectancy between 2005-10, seven were in the tropical region of Central and Southern Africa. Zimbabwe, which has a low infant mortality rate, has a very high adult mortality rate, the highest in the world.

The report also states that the life expectancy in the tropics has increased by 22.8 years to 64.4 years between 1950 and 2010, and the gap between the life expectancy of women and men has widened in favour of women for the same period.

As a general rule, regions that have shown large falls in absolute infant mortality rate have also reported large improvements in life expectancy.

Universities that participated in the research include South Pacific (Fiji), James Cook (Australia), Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (England), Mahidol (Thailand), Singapore’s National University, Nanyang Technological University and Organisation for Tropical Studies (Costa Rican). Others institutions that participated include Hub University (Denmark), University of Hawaii (USA), University of Papua New Guinea and Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia (Brazil).

Image courtesy: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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