AIDS Lowers Life Expectancy in Developing Countries; Improvements Needed to Basic Health Care, WHO Report Says
December 18, 2003
Although life expectancy has improved by almost 20 years worldwide, the improvements are not consistent, as life expectancy has dropped in some developing countries -- especially those in sub-Saharan Africa -- primarily because of the impact of AIDS, according to the World Health Organization's annual report released on Thursday, the Boston Globe reports. According to the report, titled "World Health Report 2003 -- Shaping the Future," life expectancy has risen from 46.5 years in 1950-1955 to 65.2 years in 2002. However, life expectancy in countries in Southern Africa -- including Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and Zimbabwe -- has fallen by more than 20 years in the past 10 years, and "it soon could get much worse," the Globe reports. According to the report, Mozambique's life expectancy, which is currently 42, could drop to 27 by 2010 if HIV/AIDS "is not halted or reversed," according to the Globe (Donnelly, Boston Globe, 12/18). According to a WHO press release, AIDS-related complications kill 5,000 men and women and 1,000 children every day in the poorest African nations. In addition, only 5% of HIV/AIDS patients who need antiretroviral therapy in developing countries receive the treatments, creating a gap in care that WHO has called a "global health emergency" (WHO release, 12/18).
Improving Health Care
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