Life expectancy in Africa : A cross-national study

University dissertation from Linköping : Linköpings universitet

Abstract: This thesis seeks to investigate the factors underlying the differences in life expectaocy in 28 low and middle-income African countries. The thesis is divided into two parts. Part A describes health statns (world-wide) and this is followed by a presentation of the disease panorama and a general discussion of the determinants of life expectaocy in Africa. This section concludes with a sunnnarizing analysis of results, A major conclusion in Part A is that there has been a decline in mortality in practically all regions of the world. However, mortality decline was lowest in Africa. The relatively low level of life expectaocy in Africa is attributed to the high levels of infant and child mortality rates. Within the African continent infant and child mortality rates were higher in West than in East and Southern Africa. Infectious diseases continue to afflict Africa, accounting for 50 per cent of all deaths.Part B contains five papers. The results indicate a positive correlation between life expectaocy and literacy rate, gross national product per capita, calorie supply, physicians per 1000 population, vaccination, health care access and urbanization. Other factors of irnportaoce are water supply, foreign aid and the level of health care expenditnre. Conversely, population density and high fertility are negatively correlated to life expectaocy. An analysis of the level of health care expenditnre indicates the following as the most irnportaot determinants; income, health care delivery and foreign aid. The thesis concludes by emphasising the need to strengthen preventive measures in order to eradicate the most fatal infectious diseases in Africa.

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