Average Life Expectancy in Nigeria: Details and Reasons

It is common knowledge that Nigeria is a third world country. As a result of this, average life expectancy is expected to be somewhat low. There are obvious factors militating against Nigeria and Nigerians. You may not believe it, but average life expectancy is higher in Ghana than in Nigeria.

The World health Organization released a data in 2015 about life expectancy in Nigeria, Ghana and the United States of America. According to the said data, a male in Nigeria has average life expectancy of just 53.4. A female, on the other hand, is said to have average life expectancy of 55.6. This brought the total life expectancy of Nigeria to 54.5. On global ranking, Nigeria is on position 171 among countries with highest life expectancy.

Why is life expectancy so low in Nigeria?

Various factors can lead to death in Nigeria and many of these factors can be prevented if there had been reliable public health systems on the ground. Unfortunately for Nigeria, only the rich and affluent can afford top class health services, which they get from foreign countries.

The poor, who are among the majority, are left to languish in abject poverty and are given sub-standard medical attention simply because the government fails in its responsibility to provide adequate facilities for reliable medical services to the populace.

20 common causes of death in Nigeria

  • Fire hazards
  • Violence
  • Falls
  • Birth trauma
  • Breast cancer
  • Tuberculosis
  • Maternal conditions
  • Low birth weight
  • Malnutrition
  • Road traffic accidents
  • Liver disease
  • Prostate cancer
  • Meningitis
  • Malaria
  • Diarrheal disease
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Influenza

If you take a look at the list above, you will agree that many causes of death in Nigeria are due to ignorance and poor health services. You will also discover that many of them can be prevented. Birth trauma for example, can be prevented if there is adequate health services made available to Nigerians.  Proper orientation and counseling can go a long way in preventing death from HIV/AIDS. The government must, however, be commended for its effort at curtailing the spread of HIV/AIDS in recent times through partnership with the United States.

Malaria is one of those health conditions in Nigeria that can be treated effectively and prevented too.

Place of ignorance

While the government may not be doing what is expected of it to make life better for Nigerians and increase their life expectancy, Nigerians too have a role to play in their own destiny.

Most Nigerians are ignorant and nothing kills faster than ignorance. Ignorance would prevent someone, who is down with malaria, to seek fast medical attention. Ignorance would make someone use wrong medication for the wrong health problem.  If Nigerians are well informed, life expectancy would increase a great deal.

Poor prognosis

If things continue at this rate, life expectancy is expected to decrease even more in Nigeria. An average Nigerian may not be able to live up to 50 years of age before dying.  In 1960, for example, Nigeria was ranked the 153rd country with the best life expectancy. However, the rating had decreased to 176 in 2015. It is however not too late to turn the tide in Nigeria’s favour.