COVID-19 has erased a decade of progress in global life expectancy levels

According to the United Nations agency, from 2019 to 2021 – the early years of the global health emergency – life expectancy worldwide fell by 1.8 years to 71.4 years, the same level as the United Nations. year 2012.

Responding to the findings, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus emphasized the fragility of global health advances when faced with unprecedented emergencies such as pandemics, has caused more than seven million confirmed deaths.

“In just two years, COVID-19 The pandemic has erased a decade of gains in longevity,” Mr. Tedros said. “That is why the New Pandemic Deal is so important: not only to strengthen global health security, but also to protect long-term investments in health and promote equity within and between countries .”

Regional differences

Regionally, The Americas and Southeast Asia are most affected of the Corona virus, with reduced life expectancy about three years.

Opposite, Western Pacific countries are minimally affected During the first two years of the pandemic, there were only small losses in longevity and healthy life expectancy.

The WHO 2024 World Health Statistics Report confirmed that COVID-19 was the cause third highest cause of death globally in 2020 and the second highest a year later.

Corona virus is also the leading cause of death in the Americas in 2020 and 2021.

Staff from Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, arrive with a new patient during the COVID-19 outbreak in New York. (document)

Staff from Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, arriving with a new patient during the COVID-19 outbreak in New York. (document)

The disease is not contagious

Before the pandemic, non-communicable diseases were still the leading cause of death, accounting for 74% of all deaths in 2019, the United Nations health agency said.

During the pandemic, chronic diseases such as heart disease and stroke, cancer and dementia were responsible for 78% of non-COVID deaths.

Malnutrition in children ‘shocking’

Other major causes of life being cut short are malnutrition, undernutrition, overweight and obesity. In 2022, more than one billion people aged 5 and over will be living with obesity, while more than half a billion will be underweight..

The WHO report said: “Children’s malnutrition is also notable, with 148 million children under the age of 5 affected by stunting – being too short for their age – 45 million are wasted. scrawny – too thin for their height – and 37 million children are overweight.

Inequality in health care

The WHO World Health Statistics Report also highlights the challenges faced by people with disabilities, refugees and migrants.

In 2021, approximately 1.3 billion people, or 16% of the global population, will have a disability. “This group is disproportionately affected by health inequalities resulting from avoidable, unjust and inequitable conditions,” the UN health agency emphasized.

A Covid-19 testing location in Korea.

A Covid-19 testing location in Korea.

WHO noted that similar health aid access problems exist for refugees and migrants after finding that only half of the dozens of countries surveyed between 2018 and 2018 2021 provides them with publicly funded health care at the same level as other citizens. “This highlights the urgent need for health systems to adapt and address persistent inequalities and the changing demographic needs of the global population,” WHO said.

Despite the many obstacles to public health caused by Covid-19, the UN health agency emphasized that progress has been made towards achieving better health for all, in line with the pepper Sustainable development goals (SDG). These include the fact that since 2018, 1.5 billion more people have enjoyed better health and wellbeing globally, and today 585 million more people have access to universal health coverage.

Negotiating a pandemic treaty

In an effort to prevent a future pandemic, WHO is conducting complex discussions with UN member states to draft and negotiate a convention to agree on the necessary common steps. from governments around the world.

The intention is to present the results of these negotiations at a later date. The World Health Assembly meets in Geneva next weekwhere 194 WHO member states are expected to ratify the international agreement.

Participation in the agreement by countries will be voluntary – contrary to online disinformation campaigns falsely accusing the agreement of giving up sovereignty – and for the benefit of the citizens of those and other countries, providing for more effective pandemic preparedness and response.

Based on WHOnegotiations on a future deal revolve around the need to ensure equitable access to the tools needed to stop the pandemic – vaccines, protective equipment, information and knowledge expertise – as well as universal access to health care for all.


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