LIFE EXPECTANCY in Africa on the rise

Life expectancy in Africa is said to have improved significantly over the past 15 years.

One of the most notable improvements is that sub-Saharan countries have collectively increased the region’s overall life expectancy by 16.5 per cent over the past decade and a half.

According to data from the World Bank, Malawians life expectancy increased by 51 per cent, Zambia by 38.6 per cent, Zimbabwe by 37.8 per cent and Rwanda by 21.25 per cent.

This has largely been attributed to progress on the HIV and malaria front driven by improved access to antiretroviral drugs and a better availability of mosquito nets. A growing health insurance membership also plays an important role in increased life expectancy.

A recent report by KPMG showed that the future of healthcare in Africa lies in health insurance products provided by private medical companies, although government-initiated programmes play an important role too. Andrew Schwulst, CEO of Liberty Health, agrees and says the number of lives covered by health insurance in Africa is growing.

“This is mostly due to increased spending power, which is fuelled by a rising middle class and also due to the fact that employers, including large corporates and multinationals, are acknowledging the benefits of contributing towards their employees’ health insurance premiums,” he explains.