Thursday, February 22, 2024

Botswana’s life expectancy drops

Fresh data from the World Health Organisation (WHO) has found out that on average, Batswana now live a little shorter than they could have a decade ago. The data shows that women in Botswana still live longer than their male counterparts with an average life expectancy rate of 68.4 as compared to men’s 63.6 years.

Overall the life expectancy in Botswana is now 66.1 and this gives Botswana a World Life Expectancy ranking of 138. When these latest figures are compared to a study conducted in 2013 by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), the men’s life expectancy has increased by 1.9 years whilst the women’s life expectancy has reduced by 2.8 years.

Amongst other things HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis remain the country’s leading cause of death as they account for over 40% of deaths and the youth still remains to be the most affected demographic when it comes to HIV/AIDS. More men are also dying from tuberculosis than females.

Health Researcher, Lebang Thembani, who spoke to this publication indicated that there is now a disturbing trend which seems to show that there is an increasing gap between countries with the lowest and highest death rates from a given disease.

“This is a sign that health inequality is increasing. Another issue that researchers have to take into account is the fact that it is now critical for Botswana to measure local disease burdens because health problems concentrated in a certain place in a country could be very different from those experienced a couple of hours away from that area,” she says.

Thembani also says Botswana’s ability to record an increase, decrease or stagnation in life expectancy solely depends on how policymakers address vital health drivers.

Spain has the highest life expectancy of 85.8 years. Life expectancy is defined as the measure of overall quality of life in a country and summarises the mortality at all ages. Some also say it can be viewed as an indication of the potential return on investment in human capital.

The World Health Organisation constantly provides measurement of the world’s health problems and assesses the strategies used to address them. This information is then made available to policymakers to enable them to make decisions and changes on how best to improve health systems.


Read this week's paper