DEATH news has dominated the media in the past two weeks. From the Vice-Presidentâ€™s son and Major Gen. Kazini, to ordinary people dying in road accidents in Mabira, Mubende and on Lake Victoria.
Most of the dead were less than 50 years old. Ugandaâ€™s life expectancy has improved slightly to 50 years for men and 51 for women. However, this is still very low compared to Japanâ€™s 82 years. Girls born in Japan today are likely to live until 2095 and see the change of the century. In developed countries, people start new careers at 50 and continue to contribute generously to their countriesâ€™ development right into their 70s. What is wrong with life in Africa and Uganda in particular?
We are disadvantaged right from birth. Seventy-six of every 1,000 babies born live for less than one year. Pregnancy is the leading killer of young women of 15-49 years and 320 people die from malaria every day while Uganda has one of the highest mortality rates from road accidents. The main cause is lack of a proper emergency system to handle victims. All these killers are preventable with investment in strong social services and public health systems. North Africa has one of the best social systems and their life expectancy is at 75 years.
Life expectancy should become a key performance indicator for governments. This way social services and public health funding will be given priority and fewer people will die needless deaths.
Life expectancy is the key perfomance indicator