Bharat Express

Global Life Expectancy Surges By 6.2 Years: Lancet Report

However, it notes that the gains would have been significantly higher if not for the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

A recent study published in The Lancet on Thursday reveals that, on average, people worldwide are living more than six years longer in 2021 compared to 1990. In India specifically, life expectancy has increased by eight years over the past three decades.

The study attributes the rise in global life expectancy to a decrease in deaths from diarrhoea, lower respiratory infections, stroke, and ischemic heart disease. However, it notes that the gains would have been significantly higher if not for the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

In South Asia, Bhutan experienced the most significant increase in life expectancy at 13.6 years, followed by Bangladesh (13.3), Nepal (10.4), India (8 years), and Pakistan (2.5 years). The regions of Southeast Asia, East Asia, and Oceania saw the largest net gain in life expectancy, primarily due to decreases in deaths from chronic respiratory diseases, stroke, lower respiratory infections, and cancer. Effective management of the COVID-19 pandemic is credited with preserving these gains in the region.

Dr. Liane Ong, co-first author of the study and lead research scientist at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), remarked, “Our study presents a nuanced picture of the world’s health. On one hand, we see countries’ monumental achievements in preventing deaths from diarrhoea and stroke. At the same time, we see how much the Covid-19 pandemic has set us back.”

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The study also highlights how the COVID-19 pandemic shifted the global mortality landscape, with stroke becoming the second-leading cause of death globally, and “Other pandemic-related death” ranking fifth among the leading causes of death in 2021.

The Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) 2021, as reported in The Lancet, underscores the significant reductions in deaths from enteric diseases, such as diarrhoea and typhoid, which have increased life expectancy worldwide by 1.1 years between 1990 and 2021. Progress in preventing deaths from lower respiratory infections, stroke, neonatal disorders, ischemic heart disease, and cancer also contributed to the overall increase in life expectancy during this period.

Professor Mohsen Naghavi, the co-first author of the study and director of the subnational burden of disease estimation at IHME, emphasized the importance of focusing on preventing and treating enteric infections, strengthening immunization programs, and developing new vaccines against diseases like E. coli, norovirus, and Shigella.

Eve Wool, senior author of the study and senior research manager at IHME, emphasized the need for equitable access to life-saving tools for non-communicable diseases across all countries, regardless of resource constraints.