Global life expectancy for both sexes has increased from 46 to 73 years, with the biggest gains in the poorest countries, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says. The WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, made this known during an online media conference, where he said after years of war, the organisation realised that it was better to work with one other than fight with one another.
Ghebreyesus noted that the organisation also realised that a healthier world was a safer world. “Their vision was clear, but bold: the highest possible standard of health, for all people. To achieve that vision, they agreed to set up a new organisation.
“They debated and agreed what this organisation would be and do in a document called the Constitution of the World Health Organisation,” Ghebreyesus said.
According to him, the organisation marked the 75th anniversary of the day that constitution came into force.
He stated that the organisation’s constitution was the first document in history to formally recognise health as a human right.
Ghebreyesus further stated that since then, the world has made significant progress towards realising that vision.
He said that smallpox had been eradicated and polio was on the brink.
“These are actually two of the important highlights during the 75 years of existence of the Organisation.
“42 countries have eliminated malaria, the epidemics of HIV and TB have been pushed back.
“47 countries have eliminated at least one neglected tropical disease,” he said.
Ghebreyesus said in the past 20 years alone, smoking has fallen by a third, maternal mortality has fallen by a third and child mortality has halved.