Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Health Reporter
Zimbabweans will live up to an average of 61,3 years in two decades up from the average of 59,2 years should current health indicators continue, a new scientific study of forecasts and alternative scenarios for life expectancy and major causes of death in 2040 has revealed.
The study is titled: “Forecasting life expectancy, years of life lost, and all-cause and cause-specific mortality for 250 causes of death: reference and alternative scenarios for 2016-40 for 195 countries and territories using data from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016.”
The study, which was carried out by USA’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), projected that while HIV and Aids, lower respiratory infections and tuberculosis will remain the largest causes of death, non-communicable diseases such as heart problems and diabetes will jump to number four and five respectively as major causes of death.
Diarrhoeal diseases, which are currently on number four on the list of major causes of death in Zimbabwe, will drop to number six.
Published in The Lancet, the report further noted that on a worst case scenario, the life expectancy of people in Zimbabwe will drop by 3,9 years from the current figures and on a best case scenario, it will go up by 8,6 years.
“The range of ‘better’ and ‘worse’ scenarios enables stakeholders to examine potential changes to improve health systems — locally, nationally, and globally,” said IHME director Dr Christopher Murray.
“These scenarios offer new insights and help to frame health planning, especially regarding long lag periods between initial investments and their impacts, such as in the research and development of drugs.”
According to the study, Batswana, South Africans and Zambians will live longer than Zimbabweans with an average life expectancy pegged at 70, 69,3 and 67,3 years respectively by the year 2040.