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Life expectancy in Africa rose by nearly 10 years in the years between 2000 and 2019. The average age an African could expect to live to be rose from 46 to 56. The WHO said the rise was the best of anywhere in the world. However, it was still far below the global average of 64 years. The figures are from the WHO's State of Health in Africa report. This says the improvement is because of better maternal and child healthcare, advances in fighting infectious diseases (such as malaria and HIV), and easier access to health services.
The WHO report urged African nations to keep the momentum going, to ensure life expectancy rates continue to rise. It called for more investment in healthcare systems so that they can deal with future challenges. These include an added pressure on hospitals from growing populations, and the growth of non-communicable diseases. The WHO said there is a worrying increase in the numbers of Africans with high blood pressure and diabetes. The WHO said: "The progress must not stall. Unless countries enhance measures…the health gains could be jeopardized."
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