Covid-19 pandemic likely to have set back global progress on life expectancy - WHO

Covid-19 pandemic likely to have set back global progress on life expectancy - WHO

The latest report shows that prior to the pandemic, there had also been encouraging trends globally in the reduction of child stunting, alcohol consumption and tobacco ue.

The World Health Organisation has revealed that disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic are likely to set back global progress on both life expectancy and healthy life expectancy made in the first 20 years of the century.

Global life expectancy at birth had increased from 66.8 years in 2000 to 73.3 years in 2019, and healthy life expectancy increased from 58.3 years to 63.7 years.

However, 2020 data shows how service disruptions due to the pandemic have contributed to an increase in deaths from tuberculosis and malaria between 2019 and 2020.

The report shows that prior to the pandemic, there had also been encouraging trends globally in the reduction of child stunting, alcohol consumption and tobacco use.

Statistics revealed by the World Health Organisation have revealed that disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic are likely to set back global progress on both life expectancy and healthy life expectancy made in the first 20 years of the century.
Statistics revealed by the World Health Organisation have revealed that disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic are likely to set back global progress on both life expectancy and healthy life expectancy made in the first 20 years of the century.

Furthermore, there was increased access to safely managed drinking water, sanitation, basic hygiene, and clean fuels and technologies for cooking.

The WHO says these advances had been partly underpinned by a doubling in global spending on health between 2000 and 2019.

However, it said that approximately 80% of that spending occurred in high-income countries, the bulk of it (70%) coming from government budgets.

However, in low-income countries, out-of-pocket spending was the main source of health expenditure (44%), followed by external aid (29%).

“With the current global economic recession and health systems struggling to provide continuity of health services, the Covid-19 pandemic is likely to halt the progress made in service coverage and further worsen financial protection globally,” the report states. "This is because some people are unable to access care at all because they cannot afford it.” 

It added that among those who do seek and obtain services, “there is a greater risk of facing financial hardship because of out-of-pocket health spending than before the pandemic”.

In the report, the WHO states that the effectiveness of the response to the pandemic was slowed by the failure to acknowledge the central role of primary health care, and to adequately fund key elements such as the health workforce.

It said these also “triggered disruptions to routine care which threaten to further jeopardize countries’ abilities to reach the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals for health”.

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