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Malawi’s life expectancy up

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The American, based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) research has revealed that Malawi’s life expectancy has increased especial y for women.

The study titled New Global Burden of Disease whose findings have been published in the Lancet Journal indicates that Malawian women, who were expected to live for 49 years in 2005, are now expected to live for 63 years.

In the same year, men were expected to live for 47 years but are now expected to live for 58 years.

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Lancet Journal is the world’s leading independent general medical journal which covers internationally focused health items and extends to all aspects of human health.

Malawi alongside South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Swaziland, Namibia and Zimbabwe have had life expectancy for women increased by more than 10 years.

Lancet journal says this development is largely attributable to marked reductions in mortality from HIV and Aids.

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Chief of Health Services in the Ministry of Health, Charles Mwansambo, confirmed that in the 1980s and 90s, the country’s life expectancy dropped because many people died of Aids.

“There was no life-prolonging treatment. I also believe that this development can also be attributed to our

good under-five immunisation coverage. Life is crucial in the first years too. But this has not been achieved by the Ministry of Health alone,” he said.

Executive Director for Health and Rights Education Programme, Maziko Matemba said much as this is good news, the country needs to strive towards maintaining or increasing the life expectancy.

“HIV is still a major cause of death in Malawi. Every day people are dying of its opportunistic infections and we still have to strengthen our efforts in this area. We also need to deal with non-communicable diseases,” he said.

About one million people are living with HIV in Malawi and half of them are on life, prolonging ARV drugs.

According to the study, globally, life expectancy has increased from about 62 years to nearly 72 from 1980 to 2015

IHME is an independent global health research centre at the University of Washington in Seattle that provides rigorous and comparable measurement of the world’s most important health problems and evaluates strategies to address them.

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