New study reveals Uganda life expectancy up

By Drake Nyamugabwa

A recent study coordinated by Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), a global scientific collaboration known as the Global Burden of Disease (GDB) on population health, has revealed that Uganda’s life expectancy is growing. The study also shows there are new trends in illnesses and deaths which have caused the country to continue struggling with communicable diseases, such as HIV, malaria, as well as neonatal ailments.

Researchers attribute this global health landmark to improvements in increased educational levels of mothers, rising per capita incomes, declining levels of fertility, increased vaccination programs, mass distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets, improved water and sanitation, and a wide array of other health programs funded by development funding for health.

Director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, Dr. Christopher Murray, says that death has acted as a motivator to address issues leading illness. “Death is a powerful motivator, both for individuals and for countries, to address diseases that have been killing us at high rates but, we’ve been much less motivated to address issues leading to illnesses. A triad of troubles – obesity, conflict, and mental illness, including substance use disorders – poses a stubborn and persistent barrier to active and vigorous lifestyles.” he said

Globally, countries have saved more lives over the past decade, especially among children under age 5, but persistent health problems, such as obesity, conflict, and mental illness, comprise a triad of troubles, and prevent people from living long, healthy lives, according to a new scientific study.

This year’s version of the annual Global Burden of Diseases Study (GBD) is composed of five peer-reviewed papers. The five papers provide in-depth analyses of life expectancy and mortality; causes of death, overall disease burden, years lived with disability, and risk factors that lead to health loss.

The study’s main findings for Uganda include:

  • A Ugandan born in 2016 can expect to live 59.8 years, an increase in life expectancy of 8 years over the past decade. A woman has a life expectancy of 64.8 years, up 9.2 years from 2006.
  • The top five causes of premature death in Uganda are HIV, malaria, lower respiratory infection, neonatal encephalopathy, and tuberculosis. The ailments that cause illness can be very different. Iron-deficiency anemia, depression, and back pain are the top causes of years that people live with disability in Uganda.
  • Deaths of children under 5 are a persistent health challenge. For every 1,000 live births, 62.4 Ugandan children under the age of 5 die. That far exceeds both the global figure of 38.4 and the eastern sub-Saharan Africa average of 59.6. Kenya, Ethiopia, and Tanzania all have lower rates of under-5 death among other findings.
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