Dar es Salaam. Tanzanians can now expect to live longer than estimations reported two years ago, a new study has shown.
The revised World Population Prospects 2017 report released by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division puts the average life expectancy of a Tanzanian at 66.7, a slight increase of 1.8 years between 2015 and 2020.
In 2015, the life expectancy in Tanzania was 64.9 years whereby women were expected to live 66.82 years and men 63.08 years.
It was an improvement of more than 20 years when compared with early 1960s when Tanzania’s life expectancy at birth was 45.3 years.
Since 1980 to 1990, the life expectancy remained glued at 52 years before falling to 51 years between 1993 and 1997.
Life expectancy improvement is affected by socioeconomic status, including employment, improved income, education and economic wellbeing as well as improved quality of health services and ability of the people to access it.
According to the report, Kenyans and Rwandans currently live longer than other people in the East African Community (EAC).
The key findings of the prospects for 2015-2020 show that the Rwandans are ranked first with the highest life expectancy at birth in EAC at 67.6 years followed by Kenyans at 67.3 years.
Tanzania sits third while Burundians, Ugandans and South Sudanese come in the fourth, fifth and sixth positions with 58, 57.9 and 57.5 years respectively.
According to the 2015 data by the World Health Organisation (WHO), life expectancy in Tanzania was 59.9 for men and 63.8 women, making an average of 61.8 years.
That gave Tanzania a World Life Expectancy ranking of 155 out of 190.
Top causes of deaths in Tanzania, according to WHO, include HIV/Aids, influenza and pneumonia, stroke, coronary heart disease, diarrhea, malaria, diabetes, road accidents, suicide, maternal condition and tuberculosis.
Life expectancy at birth is one of the most important demographic indicators as it shows years a newborn infant would live, assuming that birth and death rates, will remain at the same level during the entire lifetime.
According to the latest WHO data published in 2015, life expectancy in Kenya was 61.1 for male and 65.8 years for female, and an average life expectancy standing at 63.4 years. The report rates Kenya at 149.
The World Bank 2015 report has shown that in 2015, Rwanda had life expectancy of 69 years, Burundi (59), Kenya (69), South Sudan (57), Tanzania (67) and Uganda (62).
The Burundians and South Sudanese were placed at the bottom of the list as the UN population prospects shows their life expectancy were 58 and 57.5 years respectively during a similar period.
An average life expectancy at birth for East Africa Community (EAC) according to the report, was 62 years for men and 65 years for women.
However, the life expectancy for EAC was lower than an average global rate of 71 years by 2017.
In 2014, the life expectancy for both Rwanda and Tanzania stood at 64 years while Uganda had 58 years. Burundi and South Sudan had the lowest rate of 56 and 55 years respectively.
The prospect shows that Tanzanians life expectancy at birth is expected to improve to 69.3 years between 2025 and 2030.
However, this will still be below the global average of 71 years, according to UN’s recent estimates.