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International News

Africa: Sub-Saharan Life Span Down by Five Years

June 21, 2006

A World Bank report, Disease and Mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa, released at the Cape Town Book Fair on Sunday said one in six African children die before reaching their fifth birthday from preventable and treatable diseases. Eduard Bos, World Bank representative, said at the launch that the report also reflected the "ravages of the appalling epidemic of HIV and AIDS," which accounted for 20.4 percent of all sub-Saharan African deaths.

The pandemic has stalled or reversed all gains made fighting communicable disorders, cancer, mental and neurological diseases. The study said malaria accounted for 10.1 percent of deaths in the region. The new edition of the study represented an advance in knowledge since the first edition was published in 1991.

"The potential impact of HIV/AIDS was anticipated in that year, but the current volume documents the depth and breadth of the burden that the epidemic is inflicting on Africa," Bos said. Life expectancy has declined almost five years since the early 1990s.

Bos noted that illness and deaths from other causes have changed against the backdrop of HIV/AIDS and that more countries in the region are now faced with a dual burden of disease.

"While illness caused by infectious diseases persists, especially among poor people, non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancers are rapidly increasing due to changes in lifestyle and aging of some populations," Bos said.

Back to other news for June 21, 2006

Adapted from:
Business Day (Johannesburg)
06.20.06; Linda Ensor

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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