“This business of God calling us, why does God keep calling Africans only? Why doesn’t God call the Japanese? We must look out for the causes of death in Africa,” President Museveni demanded during the burial of the late Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah.
On average, Ugandans die before celebrating their 63rd birthday unlike the Japanese. It is said that the Japanese have the longest life expectancy in the world with the average life expectancy of women being 87 and men at 81. There are also reports that over 71,000 Japanese are over 100 years old today.
According to statistics,the life expectancy of Ugandan men is 61 and 63 for women. More shocking is that in the 48million population, only 2 percent of Ugandans are over the age of 65 today.
On RX Radio’s The Brunch Talk show today, Dr. Ian Clarke, the founder of International Hospital Kampala, Clarke International University and former mayor of Makindye Division explained some of the reasons why Ugandans have a much lower life expectancy and are likely to die faster than their Asian counterparts.
Among the broad categories within which most Ugandans lose their lives are road accidents, natural causes, homicides and suicides. According to Dr. Clarke, lack of attention paid to traffic rules and road safety has claimed the lives of most Ugandans.
“Because of the state of our roads, our lack of attention to road safety, the lack of enforcement of traffic rules, we are 20 times more likely to die in road accidents in Uganda than a person would be in a European country such as Norway. So there’s a certain carelessness with our lives and doing things that statistically over the whole population will result in early death,”Dr. Clarke warned.
According to him, more developed countries use statistics to develop policies depending on how they are guided. For instance to reduce road accidents, road markings are made which in Uganda are few or unclear making Ugandans susceptible to road accidents. The narrowness of roads and reckless driving collectively lead to the early demise of most Ugandans.
Dr. Clarke also reported that Ugandans and Africans in general are more likely to succumb to certain cancers than their white counterparts due to lack of early detection. Statistics by the Kampala Cancer Registry presented between the period of 1991 to 2015 indicated that incidence rates have risen and that overall rates are 25 percent higher in 2011 - 2015 compared to data recorded between 1991 -2011.
Although there are a number of cancers that claim the lives of Africans today, quoting Prof. Moses Galisonga, Dr. Clarke narrated that research statistics collected by Prof Galisonga showed that Breast cancer is most prevalent in Africans unlike in any other races. Because of late detection many lose their lives.
“The reason why we have a very poor outcome for cancer in Uganda is because we don’t carry out early detection. Because if you pick up breast cancer and detect it early, the outcome would be a cure for it. Cancers grow at different rates, if the cancer is fast growing and detected early, it will be more responsive to treatment through chemotherapy. If we detect breast cancer, prostate, cervical or any other cancers early, we will have a good outcome. Unfortunately we are poor at that here making us have a high mortality from cancers,”Dr. Clarke explained.
More still, he explained that the lack of exercise and the high consumption of junk food causes many Ugandans susceptibility to early death.
“One of the best preventative measures that people can take that applies to cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes (most common) is exercise.” he advised.
Brunch Talk is hosted by Olive Najjuma Monica every Saturday from Midday to 1pm on RX Radio.