Kenyans have a higher chance of living to see their grandchildren than other East Africans
Posted Friday, August 17 2012 at 23:30
- Investment in health, economy, social welfare and education pushes life expectancy from 58 to 62 years
Life expectancy among Kenyans has drastically gone up due to improved health and nutrition standards.
A new report released this week shows that Kenyans will live six years longer than was the case in 2010.
Life expectancy for Kenyans has shot up to 62 years from 58 last year, according to the 2012 World Population Data.
The data released by the United States of America-based Population Reference Bureau shows that Kenya’s life expectancy – the average number of years a newborn can expect to live – is now the highest in East Africa.
Kenya has overtaken Tanzania, which had the highest life expectancy of 57 years only two years ago and has remained the same.
Uganda is trailing at 53 years.
According to the data, Kenyan women, at 63, are still expected to live longer than their male counterparts.
Population and health experts were quick to attribute the changing fortunes of Kenyans to the generally improved quality of living in the last 10 years. During this time, the number of people dying from HIV-Aids related ailments has gone down while survival rates among new borns are increasing.
According to the head of population programmes at the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, Mr Samuel Ogolla, the campaign to provide anti-retrovirals to people living with HIV/Aids has helped reduce deaths.
This has meant that people can now live with the virus for as many as 20 years, Mr Ogolla said.
The supply of the medicines has been accompanied by improved health services, which included posting nurses to health centres.
Mr Ogolla was referring to the 4,200 nurses recruited two years ago under the Economic Stimulus Programme.
Most of them are working at the Constituency Development Fund-built health centres, also seen as one of the greatest contributors to healthy living.
“Most of our people now sleep under mosquito-treated nets, helping to reduce the number of malaria cases, which killed many more lives a few years ago,” Mr Ogolla said.
Last year, malaria killed 28,360 people, according to the Economic Survey 2012.
Mr Ogolla, a former senior official with the Kenya National Population Council, said the construction of roads since 2003 meant that sick people were able to access health centres.
“It is now easier to save a life because vehicles can access interior areas of the country, which couldn’t have been done before,” he said.