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Improving life expectancy



While the National Population Commission (NPopC) announced that the current overall life expectancy in Nigeria had dropped to 52.2 years, a difference of three years from the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) report in 2018 that had put it at 55.2 years, there are concerns on how the country can improve the figures.

With the leading causes of death to include preventable non communicable diseases (NCDs), such as stroke, coronary heart disease, liver, kidney and lung disease, breast, cervical and prostrate cancer, diabetes mellitus, drug use and communicable diseases, among other causes of deaths influencing the low life expectancy in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, the Managing Director and Publisher of Pharmanews Limited, an online health journal, Ifeanyi Atueyi, who clocked 80 years last week, explained that living right and healthy, especially the attitude and lifestyle of individual is crucial in achieving longevity. He said in order to live long; the first responsibility of humans is self-management of their body, noting that when one fails to manage one’s body, consequently, one cannot manage work, children and even business.


“We are responsible in taking care of the body. We must not be careless with our body. If you do not take care of the body, the body will not last for the years it wants you to live on Earth, but if you take care of it, you preserve your body until the time of old age,” he explained.

Atueyi, who is also the Vice President, Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy, maintained that individuals must take good care of their health, noting that people should not blame others, especially the government for their ill health, but rather be responsible for their own health. He said Nigerians should adopt preventive medicine to avoid getting sick, adding, “People get sick because of what they have decided to eat, drink and should also look into their habits as all these are the catalysts of sickness. Personal attention to personal health is very important.”

Atueyi who lamented on the rise of fake drugs which has contributed to the death of young ones, said it will continue to stay as it has become a global phenomenon, noting that in the case of Nigeria, “it is poorly controlled, which is why there is a large number.”
“Countries where every person with Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination can run a pharmacy is very bad, it never happens anywhere even in Ghana. Only pharmacist should handle drugs passing through the right channel. So channels or distributions are very important in Nigeria,” he added.

On the state of the health sector, he said: “We have done well in the health sector, but the point is that we could do better. Where we are today is not where we should have been. One thing is the budget that is always low, about five percent. It should be at least 15 percent and above.”


On how to fix the country’s health sector, Atueyi said there must be integrity, less corruption and stealing, noting that despite the religiosity, many of the leaders and citizens still go astray.“A nation that is full of disobedience cannot prosper, so if we must live right we should stop all this dishonesty and stealing and all sorts of atrocity. We should purify ourselves because when we talk of people, we are talking of Nigeria,” he said.

Also speaking the former Minister of Health, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, commended the octogenarian for a life well spent on earth, while he urged Nigerians to emulate his healthy lifestyle in order to improve the country’s life expectancy.He said as far as the health sector is concerned, “there is the need to call for team work among all the members of the health team in the ministry of health. We are getting tired as everybody is still struggling for supremacy – the various professional persons are different, but together we should make the patients their one centerpiece.

“We are all there to take care of the patients, so if everybody is so busy fighting very common and nauseating battles, we would leave the patients unattended to and that is what is happening.”He, however, advised the ministers to seize opportunities and ensure that teamwork exists among all practitioners in the health field, adding that they don’t have to wait for government to start setting up committees for that.He further added that once there is teamwork, the health of the population would be better, as “all of us who are common people can enjoy health census.”


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Ifeanyi AtueyiWHO
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