SA bucks world trend
LIFE EXPECTANCY: Steady increase
GENEVA — Average life expectancies are increasing steadily in most of the world, but women in South Africa and men in Iraq are bucking that trend with notable drops in their time on earth.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said yesterday, in South Africa life expectancy for women fell to 55 years from 59 years in 2000 and 68 years in 1990 — a reflection of the country’s high HIV infection rate. Men’s life expectancy in 2009 remained stable at 54 years compared with the figure nine years earlier, but was down from 59 in 1990.
The average life expectancy in Iraq fell to 66 years in 2009 from 68 years in 2000 — when dictator Saddam Hussein was still in power.
Iraqi girls born in 2009 could still expect to live to 70, boys’ life expectancy dropped sharply to 62 years, compared with 65 years in 2000.
“The figures reflect the chaos from the conflict and the impact on health systems,” said Colin Mathers, one of the co-ordinators of WHO’s World Health Statistics report.
Chad, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica were the only other nations where average life expectancy dropped between 2000 and 2009.
Figures on life expectancy are the clearest single indicator of health around the world. And globally, they are increasing.
A girl born today can expect to live for 71 years. This is up from 68 years at the start of the century.
Men lagged behind, with a global average life expectancy of 66 years, up from 64 years, the report found.
Combined figures showed an increase of two years since 2000, to 68.
In the U.S., female life expectancy at birth averaged 81 years in 2009, up from 80 years in 2000. American boys born today can expect to live for 76 years, WHO said. A five-year gap between the sexes is average across much of the world. — Sapa-AP.