Why women outlive men everywhere in the world – WHO report

A World Health Organisation (WHO) report says men are more likely to die earlier than women.

The “2019 World Health Statistics” published on the WHO website on Thursday, said that where men and women faced the same disease, women often seek health care less than men.

“Women outlive men everywhere in the world particularly in wealthy countries and the World Health Statistics 2019 disaggregated by sex for the first time explains why.

“In countries with generalised HIV epidemics for example, men are less likely than women to take an HIV test, less likely to access antiretroviral therapy and more likely to die of AIDS-related illnesses than women.

“Similarly, male Tuberculosis (TB) patients appear to be less likely to seek care than female TB patients.”

It said that of the 40 leading causes of death globally, 33 causes contribute more to reduced life expectancy in men than in women.

The report quoted Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, the WHO Director-General, as saying that breaking down data by age, sex and income group was vital to understanding who was being left behind and why.

“The gap between men’s and women’s life expectancy is narrowest where women lack access to health services.

“In low-income countries, where services are scarcer, one in 41 women die from a maternal cause, compared with one in 3,300 in high-income countries.

“In more than 90 per cent of low-income countries, there are fewer than four nursing and midwifery personnel per 1000 people.

Also, Dr Samira Asma, the WHO Assistant Director General for Data, Analytics and Delivery, said that these statistics underscored the need to prioritise primary health care urgently to effectively manage noncommunicable diseases and to curb risk factors.

“Healthy life expectancy at birth which is the number of years one can expect to live in full health has increased from 58.5 years in 2000 to 63.3 years in 2016.

“Life expectancy remains strongly affected by income; in low-income countries, life expectancy is 18.1 years lower than in high-income countries. One child in every 14 born in a low-income country will die before their fifth birthday,” Asma said. (WHO)

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