By Chioma Obinna
Amid statistics by the United Nation’s Population Fund (UNFPA) showing that Nigeria has the 3rd lowest life expectancy rate in the world (55) years for men and 56 years for women), the Deputy Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Ipalibo Harry –Banigo has linked the nation’s low life expectancy to poor infrastructure, lack of food security and poor economic indices.
Banigo said health experts and other stakeholders must team up to address these factors responsible for the short life span in order to raise Nigerians’ standard of living from the current abysmal level.
Data from the World Health Organisation, WHO, published in 2018, showed that life expectancy in Nigeria is 54.7 for males and 55.7 for females, with a total life expectancy, is 55.2 which gave Nigeria a World Life Expectancy ranking of 178.
Speaking in Lagos on the topic “Improving life expectancy in Nigeria” Harry –Banigo said: “We also have social problems, infrastructure problems, poor and inadequate portable safe water supply, poor states of our roads, poor housing and rental challenges, amidst other economic variables. Inequitable distribution of income has wiped out the middle class in our society.
“This has also added to a high level of unemployment, a lot of stress, ranging from students’ school fees, house rent, electricity bills, medical bills, generators, and parts repairs, powering and fueling, feeding the family, and clothing of families. Also is the huge number of demands, siblings demands, vigilante bills, work stress, police stress on the road, variable stress, kidnappers fears, armed robbery fears, and all these are adding to our low rate of life expectancy.”
She spoke added that for Nigeria to improve on its life expectancy there is an urgent need for collaboration with all sectors.
“Our government has a critical role to create a conducive environment for businesses to thrive and ensure the sustainability of the ease of doing business in all the sectors of our economy.
“It must address the numerous challenges breaking the health sector in terms of facility, equipment, manpower, and also curtailing preventable and avoidable diseases.
“Also, the government needs to improve on budgetary allocations to the health sector, and take measures to control population growth. A situation where we have a population growth increase which is higher than our GDP is not sustainable. Hence we need to educate our people, and educate the women on birth control’’
Speaking, Former Director & General Manager, Human Resources & Organization, Nigerian, Agip Oil Company Limited, Papa Patrick Amaechi, who spoke from London, also proffered solutions on how Nigerians can live to a ripe old age. Narrating his experience, he said this can be achieved through discipline, knowledge about diets and regular check-up to ensure one stays in good shape all year round.
“We are what we eat,” he said, adding: “It is important to find out what kind of food is good for us as individuals and what exercise that is appropriate for us with moderations”
Earlier, the Chairman/CEO St. Racheal’s Pharmaceutical, Mr. Akinjide Adeosun observed: “Two years ago, we commenced a 20-year journey into living our purpose on the continent of Africa starting from Nigeria.
This journey will see us launch into many markets on the continent, expand our offering from our core base of antibiotics into brands that will supplement Life & brands that will prevent diseases.
“These are our tri-growth strategies. Everything is planned with eyes on our Vision – To eradicate diseases in Africa.