Life expectancy at birth is a statistic that evaluates a country’s healthcare system as well as the quality of life of its citizens. The statistics shed light on the effects alternative contributing factors can have on life expectancy including pollution, human development and healthy lifestyle adaptations.
All countries on this list are located in the continent of Africa. A strong correlation between low survival rates and low human development index can be identified. If healthcare facilities can be located in these African countries, they are often abysmal. The majority of the countries on this list are those who have achieved independence within the last century. Although infant mortality rates in these areas are declining, they are still alarmingly high at almost 38% in 2011. Another important statistic to note is the majority of populations included on this list are rural rather than urban.
The absence of quality healthcare is the leading cause of low survival rates of infants. Better services for mother and child reduces infant mortality rates. Quality healthcare in general ensures the child remains healthier for a longer duration in its lifetime. Unfortunately, a large number of infants have never been administered mandatory vaccines. Due to the lack of awareness regarding the benefits of vaccinations, many families believe vaccinations are unnecessary and a waste of their time and money. As a result, a newborn child has an increased chance of developing one of many diseases such as measles, rubella and polio which can hinder their life. An increase in mortality rates can be attributed to disease as well as suicide. Despite these statistics, healthcare facilities may be inaccessible simply because they are sparsely located or may be too far away for someone in need.
The countries on this list have another related aspect; all have relatively high pollution in land, air and water. Clean water and air are proven to be two of the most important factors in improving life expectancy. The lack of clean water is cited as the single most important reason for the low life expectancy in Africa. Most sub-Saharan countries like Swaziland, Central African Republic, Chad, Sierra Leone, Angola and Nigeria do not have clean water available for the majority of the population.
Low literacy rates in these countries have led to little or no family planning. With most households relying on manpower for industries like agriculture and mining, the majority of households are impoverished. Unprotected sex and violence can ensue, causing the mortality of both the infant and the mother to both be threatened.
The countries listed here are lacking in many areas and need vast support in order to improve life expectancy. Although advances in medical science have had an impact on bringing the statistics to a lower level, the results are still disturbingly high. It will take a period of sustained literacy, awareness and persistence to transform Africa to its true potential. Until then, we will continue to rely on a declining rate of the low level of life expectancy.