In an analysis from the 2013 Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study,
health researchers said, however, that while life expectancy is
rising almost everywhere in the world, one notable exception is
southern sub-Saharan Africa, where deaths from HIV/AIDS have erased
some five years of life expectancy since 1990.
"The progress we are seeing against a variety of illnesses and
injuries is good -- even remarkable -- but we can and must do even
better," said Christopher Murray, a professor of global health at
the University of Washington in the United States, who led the
study. It was published in The Lancet medical journal.
Murray said a huge increase in collective action and funding given
to potentially deadly infectious diseases such as diarrhea, measles,
tuberculosis, HIV and malaria has had a real impact, reducing death
rates and extending life expectancy.
But he said some major chronic diseases have been neglected and are
rising in importance as threats to life, particularly drug
disorders, liver cirrhosis, diabetes and kidney disease.
The GBD 2013 gives the most comprehensive and up-to-date estimates
of the number of yearly deaths from 240 different causes in 188
countries over 23 years -- from 1990 to 2013.
Murray's team's latest analysis found some poorer countries have
made exceptional gains in life expectancy over that time period,
with people in Nepal, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Niger, Maldives, East Timor
and Iran now living on average 12 years longer.
[to top of second column]
Yet despite dramatic drops in child deaths over the last 23 years,
malaria, diarrhea and respiratory infections such as pneumonia are
still in the top five global causes of death in children under five,
killing almost two million children between the ages of one month
and 59 months every year.
Another mixed success is that, while worldwide deaths from HIV/AIDS
have fallen every year since their peak in 2005, HIV/AIDS is still
the greatest cause of premature death in 20 out of 48 countries in
(Editing by Gareth Jones)
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