A new scientific analysis of more than 300 diseases and injuries in 195 countries reveals that there has been significant progress in the fight against communicable diseases. The findings were published in the Lancet.
In many East African nations, lower respiratory infection was the leading cause of death, resulting in 58,231 deaths in Ethiopia and 8,181 in Rwanda. On the other hand, HIV/AIDS was the top killer in Kenya, leading to 46,577 deaths in 2015.
But the conditions that kill are not typically those that make people sick. The top three nonfatal causes of poor health in East Africa overall were iron-deficiency anemia, depression, and low back pain.
The results further indicate that despite fewer people dying from respiratory infections and malaria in many East African nations, a big number still suffer from serious health challenges related to unsafe sex, childhood wasting, and unsafe water.
Dr. Charles Shey Wiysonge,a professor of clinical epidemiology at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, in Cape Town said that significant progress had been achieved but some counties lag behind.
“Many nations face significant health challenges despite the benefits of income, education, and low birth rates, while other countries farther behind in terms of development are seeing strong progress,” he said.
The Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD) draws work of more than 1,800 collaborators.
Globally, life expectancy increased from about 62 years to nearly 72 from 1980 to 2015, with several nations in sub-Saharan Africa rebounding from high death rates due to HIV/AIDS.
Child deaths are falling fast, as well as illnesses related to infectious diseases.
But each country has its own specific challenges and improvements, from fewer suicides in France, to lower death rates on Nigerian roadways, to a reduction in asthma-related deaths in Indonesia.
Dr. Christopher Murray, Director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington in Seattle reiterated that much as development drives health programmes, it couldn’t determine the quality of health services.
“We see countries that have improved far faster than can be explained by income, education, or fertility. And we also continue to see countries – including the United States – that are far less healthy than they should be given their resources.”