Hunger may spike chronic diseases, shorten life expectancy, Experts warn

Janet Ogundepo

Medical practitioners and other stakeholders have expressed concerns that the economic hardship, which has led to widespread hunger will likely increase the prevalence of chronic diseases and reduce the life expectancy of Nigerians if left unchecked.

The specialists in Internal Medicine, (a speciality that treats a wide range of conditions affecting the internal organs of the body including the heart and lungs), also stated that hunger could lead to an increase in anxiety and depression.

According to them, if the situation continues without reprieve, there would be an increase in the consumption of unsafe food and water, leading to outbreaks of diseases, including diarrhoea and cholera.

Already, Nigeria’s life expectancy rate at birth is 55.1 years for males and 57.2 years for females, according to the National Bureau of Statistics report in 2022.

However, the World Health Organisation 2020 data on the life expectancy rate in Nigeria was 62.1 years for males, 64.1 years for females and the total life expectancy rate, 62.6 years.

In January 2023, the United Nations Children’s Fund reported that nearly 25 million Nigerians were at risk of hunger between June and August 2023 if urgent action was not taken.

The World Food Programme estimated that 4.4 million people are food insecure in the northeastern part of the country.

Meanwhile, Nigeria scored 28.3 on the 2023 Global Hunger Index, and the score was described as “a level of hunger that is serious.”

Since the removal of the fuel subsidy in May 2023 and the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria to float the naira against other currencies, the prices of food items in the country have witnessed a sharp rise.

This is also coupled with the pre-existing farmer-herder crisis and insecurity, which has sacked many farmers from their farmlands.

According to an NBS report, Nigeria’s inflation rate in January 2024, rose to 29.90 per cent from 28.92 per cent in December last year.

PUNCH Healthwise reported that the situation had further led to the rise in the prices of food and drugs in the country, with many lamenting the inability to meet daily dietary needs and medications.

An Internal Medicine expert at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu State, Dr John Onyebueze, noted that hunger creates an enabling environment for communicable and non-communicable diseases to thrive and reduces the life expectancy rate of the average population.

Recommended For You

About the Author: Citypost

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *