BMI View : Increased longevity in developed markets translates into an increased demand for aged care healthcare services and medicines. However, in emerging markets such as Kenya, despite increased life expectancy, communicable diseases will remain a significant health burden over the next two decades - continuing to limit revenue earning opportunities for companies whose product portfolios contain medicines for the treatment of long-term diseases.
A study carried out by 12 institutions examining the conditions of life in the tropics  - defined as the region of the earth surrounding the equator within the latitudes of the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn at +/- 23.5 degrees - has found that:
Life expectancy in the tropics increased by 22.8 years to 64.4 years between 1950 and 2010.
Infant mortality in the tropics fell from 161 deaths per 1000 live births to 58 over the same period. However the rate in the rest of the world is 33, and the rate of improvement has been greater.
Life expectancy of women in the tropics is higher than men, and the gap has increased in the past 60 years.
The life expectancy gap between the tropics and the rest of the world has fallen to 7.7 years in 2010, compared with a gap of 12.6 years in 1950.
The major factors contributing to improved life expectancy and lower infant and adult mortality rates include the impact of economic growth on household income and purchasing capacity, especially food; public investment in social services such as education, improved water and sanitation infrastructure; and advances in health and medical technology.
But There Is Still A Substantial Gap Between The Tropics And The Rest Of The World
The burden of disease among adults is increasing in many countries globally due to increases in life expectancy as populations age. The elderly require more medical check-ups and care than young people due to the increased prevalence of chronic disease with age, and therefore consume a disproportionately large share of healthcare services. Such robust demand for services presents healthcare providers, including drugmakers and medical device companies, with significant business expansion and revenue-earning opportunities.
With regards to Kenya, a tropics country, the study found that the life expectancy of a Kenyan has increased to 64 years up from 55 years two year ago. While this is positive, economic growth and the subsequent change in lifestyles is also contributing to an increasing prevalence of risk factors for non-communicable diseases, including high blood pressure and obesity. Nonetheless, as in many developing nations, communicable diseases will remain a significant health burden over the next two decades, continuing to limit revenue earning opportunities for companies whose product portfolios contain medicines for the treatment of long-term diseases.
The number of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) lost to non-communicable diseases in Kenya will increase from 2.74mn in 2011, to 4.12mn by 2030. However, communicable diseases will continue to account for a larger proportion of the total disease burden in the country - 78% in 2011 and 72% in 2030. Further, highlighting the ongoing burden of communicable diseases, in 2011, DALYs lost to HIV and cardiovascular diseases accounted for 31.91% and 3.06% of the total disease burden in 2011 and in 2030 DALYs lost to HIV and cardiovascular diseases will account for 39.26% and 3.60% of the total disease burden.
|Dominated By Infectious Diseases|
|Kenya's Burden Of Disease|
 State Of The Tropics, Life Expectancy, 2012