Beginning from 2018, a male child given birth to in Nigeria is expected to live for an approximated 54.7 years while the female is expected to live approximately 55.7 years. This was the conclusion come to in a recent life expectancy data published by the World Health Organization (WHO) for the year 2018. This report placed the life expectancy ranking of Nigeria in 178 out of 192 countries in the world. What this means in a layman language is that no Nigerian is expected to live beyond the age of 56years which is four years before the national retirement age for Nigeria’s civil service. Although it is important to note that this is an improvement by few years when compared to the previous records which placed life expectancy in Nigeria as at 2016 at 54.22 for female and 52.66 for male.
These figures matters because it communicates the state of our human resources in Nigeria at the moment. With a short life expectancy like we see in these data, the future of the country is far from secure. How did we get here? The recent report by WHO stated unequivocally that Nigerians are liable to die of sicknesses and diseases as well as other causes such as road accidents, trauma birth, tuberculosis, diarrhea, stroke among others. All these causes of death are issues that we have continually debated as a nation which boils down to the poor state of Nigeria’s healthcare sector in particular and the nation in general.
That diarrhea and tuberculosis will be a source of concern for Nigerians in 2018 seems unbelievable but its happening because we have failed to control it through the provision of portable water, hygienic sanitation systems and a working health sector. The poor state of road infrastructure in the country has contributed to the increasing number of death recorded on Nigeria roads. This simply means Nigerians are dying cheaply when our life expectancy is threatened by tuberculosis, diarrhea, road accidents among others.
It is not enough for the government to discard this ranking as it has always done but to take a deep look at it and put up the necessary solutions to reverse this ugly trends. Low life expectancy threatens the future of Nigerians. We can only avoid this by fixing our healthcare system and other infrastructures.