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Life Expectancy Takes a Leap

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According to the World Health Organization overall global life expectancy has taken a huge leap since 2000. Countries all over the world have seen increases. The global life expectancy has increased by 5 years and is now just over 71 years, which reverses the decline seen in the 1990s. Even areas with the lowest life expectancy, like regions of Africa, have seen an increase. The greatest increase since 2000 took place in the African region. Life expectancy rose from just 9.4 years to 60 years. Why, all of a sudden, are people living longer? A number of factors contribute to the big leap of life expectancy, including advances in the medical field. Especially in Africa, scientists have made great progress in disease treatment. Every day, we're one step closer to curing malaria and treating HIV/AIDS, two of the leading causes of death in Africa, especially among children. But even with these great strides, there's still more we can do to increase life expectancy. Some controllable factors that contribute to life expectancy are smoking, contaminated water and air pollution. If we take the steps needed to prevent these from happening, we can see people live even longer. According to Dr. Margaret Chan, director-general of the WHO, access to basic healthcare for everyone who needs it is the key to closing the big gaps in life expectancy. Unfortunately, some countries don't have access to affordable healthcare, and therefore cannot be treated for the diseases that are the cause for so many premature deaths. If we want to see life expectancy continue to rise, "supporting countries to move towards universal health coverage based on strong primary care is the best thing we can do."
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