Correspondent, Folorunso Ojo, writes about respondents’ reaction to a recent study on why Nigerians die at an early age.
There is no doubt it is the desire of everyone to live longer and enjoy the good things of life even though death is a necessary end to every mortal.
In the olden days, most people lived long, up to the ages of 80, 90 and beyond. The reverse seems to be the case today, particularly in Nigeria and most Africans nations.
Last year, some researchers at the Harvard University came up with a study reaffirming that medical advancement have helped people stay healthy for long and that people are not just living longer but are also now living healthier.
According to Professor David Cutler who is the lead author of the study,” the period of time in which we are in poor health is been compressed until just the end of life.
“So where we used to see people who are very, very sick for the final six or seven years of their lives, that’s now far less common. People are living to older ages and we are adding healthy years, not deliberated ones.”
To buttress this finding, the latest report by the World Health Organisation, WHO, on the global life expectancy also revealed that human have not yet reached a natural limit to their age.
The report says, “The global life expectancy has increased from 64 years in1990 to 70 years in 2011.” It added, “A 60-year-old man could expect to live another 19 years and a woman of the same year could count on another 21 years, two years more than in 1990.
While these findings may be proved right in the developed countries of the world, the reality on ground, particularly in Nigeria and mostly in Sub-Saharan African, as well as other nations classified as the Third World, appears to conjure a different development.
For Nigeria, the recent report by the World Bank revealed that the average life expectancy was put at 52 years, making the country the 17th lowest in the world.
The report also showed that in Nigeria, men died more than women between 2006 and 2011 did. This shows that in spite of her struggles to be relevant on the global stage, Nigeria has remained classified from all indices among the less endowed nations with low average life expectancy.
However, it is the desire of every successive government in Nigeria to ensure its citizens enjoy good health and quality or high standard. In actualising these dreams, numerous life-touching programmes were put in place to alleviate the effect of the global economic hardship daily faced by the people.
During the week, Nigerian Pilot Sunday spoke with some respondents to share their views why long lifespan is no longer a luxury in this part of the world. Some held the belief that the problems are traceable to the quality of food being produced; others say it was due to environmental factors. There are also others who attributed the people’s short life-span to poverty and economic recession.
In her contribution, Mrs. Musa Yayi, a Civil Servant said, “most people do not live long like our forefathers because of their quest to ensure ends meet. Due to the gale of economics recessions being faced in the country, many people engaged themselves in many activities that they can’t cope with and in the process end up shortening their lifespan.
“There are also some people who will like to imitate others by aspiring to acquire what others have, not minding their resources. In the process of doing these, they develop stress, heartache or hypertension, thereby limiting their lifespan.
Also, the food we eat today is also another reason. In some ways, our ancestors had it easy because they didn’t have chemically treated food and chemically enhanced kitchen. So their diets and cooking exposed them to fewer toxic hazards.”
Mr. Adepoju, a businessman also shares the view that most of the food being produced today is being grown with fertilizer unlike what our forefathers were living on in the Olden days, saying the same also applied to the animals we rear.
“The quality of food we now eat cannot be compared with the ones our forefathers eat which made them to live longer then. Then they don’t usually use tablet when they fall sick and they rarely fall sick either.
Most of the foods that our ancestors eat were natural food, same also with the animals they reared for consumption. Another thing is that our ancestors are very content with what they had. They did not look for money by hook or crook.
“But nowadays our young men and women who are between the age ranges of 18, 22, 28, or 35 want to be millionaire at all cost. And by so doing, they would involve themselves in a deal that would cut short their lifespan.
The same thing also goes with what we drink. Some liquor, wine among others is being produced with chemicals which have toxic effects on our health. So all these goes a long way at weakening our body system, thereby shorten people’s lifespan.
Equally adding his opinion, Mr. Shade Aladenola, an environmental consultant, said the issue of early death could be viewed from various aspects of our life.
He stated that the food we eat coupled with condition of our environment, pollution; air-borne diseases among other things often work against people’s health.
“If you compare Nigeria today with other developed countries of the world, the truth is that we don’t have total control of our environment. There is lot of pollution here. Even the essential thing of life like potable water is not accessible to the people, yet we complain of people dying young unlike in the developed climes.
Still speaking on the environment, Aladenola noted that most of our buildings are too compacted, “how many houses have modern toilet facilities in Nigeria. Most people are still using old system of “short put” to the bush, adding that “We are in dry season now, many people are catching cough. This is due to the environment, the airs we breathe in are laden with air-borne infection, and all the roads are not well tarred unlike in the developed countries’ he lamented.
On food hygiene, he stated that apart from the fact that we do not eat good foods, most people are not even eating balanced diet. We eat carbohydrate foods all the time and there are those who may go without breakfast, lunch or supper on daily basis, so, tell me the reason why our people would not die very early. Don’t forget the fact that some of our imported foods like rice are 15 years old expired foods,” declared Mr. Aladenola.