Life Expectancy Worldwide Dramatically Increased After Two Decades, WHO Says

July 9, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. leap / lip / (v.) – to suddenly rise in amount
Example: Due to improvements in healthcare, life expectancy has leaped since the last decade.

2. attribute / əˈtrɪb yut / (v.) – to say that something resulted from a specific cause
Example: Experts attribute the decrease in the number of people having the disease to the new vaccine.

3. treatment / ˈtrit mənt / (n.) – something that helps cure a disease
Example: Many studies in the past have attempted to discover treatments for AIDS.

4. remarkable / rɪˈmɑr kə bəl / (adj.) – describing something that is worthy of notice or attention
Example: The country’s healthcare system has shown remarkable improvements in the past years.

5. assistance / əˈsɪs təns / (n.) – the act of helping someone in a task
Example: The government asked for the assistance of local organizations.


Read the text below.
A report by the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that life expectancy around the world has increased, with Africa having the biggest leap.

According to a report issued by the WHO in May, life expectancy, or the average period a person is expected to live, has increased by five years worldwide in less than two decades. The health agency said that this increase has been the fastest since the 1960s.

The WHO, which operates under the United Nations (UN), has seen an increase of 9.4 years in Africa, the largest in 15 years. The increase is attributed to the rise of improved health care for children, progress in malaria control and treatment, and the continent’s fight against AIDS. Other data from the World Bank backed Africa’s progress, saying that out of the 37 countries that reached a 10% increase in life expectancy, 30 are in Africa.

Globally, babies born in 2015 were expected to live for 71 years for females and 69 years for males. Women in Japan and men in Switzerland had the highest chance of living longer, while Sierra Leone had the lowest expected years of living for both genders.

WHO director-general Dr. Margaret Chan said that the world has made remarkable steps in decreasing death rates due to preventable and treatable diseases. However, she added that the improvements have not been equal for all countries worldwide. She believes that those countries in need of global health assistance should be supported.

The WHO report, updated by its Global Health Observatory arm, noted that the data is incomplete since about half of deaths worldwide are not registered.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         How do you think countries in Africa and in other parts of the world can maintain or further improve life expectancy?
·         What help can your country extend to nations in need?

Discussion B

·         Do you think health should be the highest priority of all countries around the world? Why or why not?
·         Give examples of how governments around the world can strengthen health policies.

July 9, 2016