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Global Life Expectancy Trends: Lancet Study Insights

A recent Lancet study reveals a significant rise in global life expectancy, with an average increase of 6.2 years between 1990 and 2021. Notably, India has seen an eight-year increase during this period. The study attributes this rise to declines in deaths from various ailments such as diarrhoea, respiratory infections, stroke, and heart disease, although the gains were somewhat offset by the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

Regional Insights: South Asia’s Strides

In the South Asia region, countries like Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, India, and Pakistan have shown varied improvements in life expectancy, with Bhutan leading with a gain of 13.6 years. Proper management of the Covid-19 pandemic is highlighted as a crucial factor in preserving these gains.

Key Findings and Challenges

The study underscores the significant net gain in life expectancy in Southeast Asia, East Asia, and Oceania, largely due to reductions in deaths from chronic respiratory diseases, stroke, respiratory infections, and cancer. However, the emergence of Covid-19 has disrupted these advancements, making it the second-leading cause of death globally.

Impact of Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) 2021

The GBD 2021 report highlights the substantial drops in deaths from enteric diseases, contributing to a 1.1-year increase in global life expectancy between 1990 and 2021. Reductions in deaths from lower respiratory infections and advancements in preventing deaths from various causes further drove up life expectancy worldwide.

Call to Action

The study emphasizes the need to focus on preventing and treating diseases like diarrhoea and typhoid, strengthening immunization programs, and developing new vaccines. Additionally, it urges the global community to ensure that life-saving tools for non-communicable diseases are accessible to all, especially in resource-limited settings.

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