UN News Centre - People everywhere are living longer, the United Nations health agency today reported, mostly because fewer children are dying, certain diseases are in check, and tobacco use is down, but conditions in low-income countries continue to plague life quality there.
According to the UN World Health Organization’s (WHO) World Health Statistics 2014, a girl born in 2012 can expect to live around 73 years and a boy to the age of 68. That is six years longer than the average life span for a child in 1990.
With one year to go until the 2015 target date for achieving the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), substantial progress has been made on many health-related goals, the report authors wrote.
“The global target of halving the proportion of people without access to improved sources of drinking water was met in 2010, with remarkable progress also having been made in reducing child mortality, improving nutrition, and combating HIV, tuberculosis and malaria,” the report states.
WHO’s statistics show that low-income countries have made the greatest progress, with an average increase in life expectancy by 9 years from 1990 to 2012. The top six countries where life expectancy increased the most were Liberia which saw a 20-year increase (from 42 years in 1990 to 62 years in 2012) followed by Ethiopia (from 45 to 64 years), Maldives (58 to 77 years), Cambodia (54 to 72 years), Timor-Leste (50 to 66 years) and Rwanda (48 to 65 years).
Nevertheless, nearly 18,000 children worldwide died every day in 2012, according to the findings, with large inequities remaining in child mortality between high-income and low-income countries.
“There is still a major rich-poor divide: people in high-income countries continue to have a much better chance of living longer than people in low-income countries,” said Director-General of the UN World Health Organization (WHO) Margaret Chan.
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