The life expectancy of an individual is the expected number of years of the life at any given time. By analyzing the life tables or the actuarial tables, the life expectancy can be predicted. According to the World Health Organization, the healthy life expectancy is the “average number of years that a person is expected to live in full health, subtracting full health due to diseases and injury” (Kabir, 2008, pp. 185--204). The life expectancy has been drastically low in the developing countries; this issue has been shocking for the whole world. Despite the fact that there has been a rise in the life expectancy throughout the globe the expected life for individuals in the developing countries have been gradually decreasing. This paper sheds light on some of the causes and problems associated with life expectancy; it further, identifies certain solutions to the low levels of life expectancy in the developing countries.
Water and sanitation is the most significant factor contributing to the issue of low life expectancy. According to the United Nations, “In 2000, more than 830 million people in Asia Pacific region did not have access to safe drinking water” (Eneh, 2011). The people in the developed countries are well aware of their rights and would never accept such thing unlike the citizens of a developing country. According to the World Health Organization, “UK water suppliers place the highest priority on assuring the quality of water provided to their customers. Strict standards for the quality of the public supply are laid down in national regulations derived from the EU Drinking Water Directive. These standards are based on advice from the World Health Organization (WHO) and are regularly reviewed” (Boscheck and Clifton et al., 2013, pp. 136--158). The pregnant women, nursing mothers and the babies get infected due to malnutrition and unsafe drinking water.
It has been estimated that Sub-Saharan Africa is heavily victimized by HIV and AIDS as compared to the other regions. In this particular region only, 22.9 million affected people reside-this is 66% of the total in the globe (UNAIDS, 2011). The statistics show that 1.2 million people died due to AIDS in this region while 1.9 million got infected with HIV. The AIDS epidemic has led to making 14.8 million children orphans (UN AIDS, 2010). The average life expectancy in this region is now only 54.4 years and in some countries that are heavily affected, the life expectancy is less than 49 years. It is not only putting strain on the healthcare sector but also giving rise to the number of healthcare workers that are getting affected. Still, 70% of the deaths are associated with infectious diseases, maternity-related deaths and childhood illnesses. The AIDS epidemic still results in 1.5 million deaths annually. The use of tobacco in the developing countries accounts for around six million deaths around the world (Tavernise, 2012).
The low life expectancy hinders the economic growth. The issue of low life expectancy acts as an opportunity cost for the government as more spending is required for healthcare in the country. It becomes necessary to open new hospitals, up gradation of the surgical equipment becomes a necessity and it also means that more medical staff must be trained. The healthcare sector drains more finances leading to the ignorance of other important sectors like education, technology, transportation and communication (Kunze, 2014).
The lack of education and healthcare has increased the mortality of children and women in the developing countries. It has become highly critical to educate the people residing in the developing countries regarding HIV and AIDS. Without investing in the education sector, it is impossible for the children to gain awareness. The government needs to plan instructional programs regarding the significance of health and hygiene and also incorporate the education of such epidemics (Rahman and Khan, 2012).
Another solution is to ensure immunization of the children as well as the adults against all kinds of infectious diseases. This is particularly helpful to improve the life expectancy of the infants at birth. In many developed countries, the immunization campaigns have successfully eliminates polio and smallpox. But in the developing countries, where either the immunization efforts are relaxed or the people are not educated properly, these diseases remain threatening (The World Bank Group, 2014).
Concluding, the developing countries have shockingly low life expectancies that require some instant steps to be taken. The governments must invest heavily in education because it is the lack of awareness that is giving rise to chronic diseases like AIDS, diabetes, and tobacco-related diseases. The healthcare sector is being flooded with funds but is hurting the overall economic development. The only solution to raise the level of life expectancy in the developing countries is immunization of the infants at birth, educational campaigns for the children and adults both, clean water and sanitation system.
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