DUBLIN, Ireland: Ireland's life expectancy has seen the greatest gains among all EU nations, according to one of the country's top health officials.
Speaking to a parliamentary health care committee this week, incoming chief executive of the Health Service Executive, Bernard Gloster, said that in 2021 life expectancy in Ireland was 84.4 years for women and 80.8 years for men. This was an increase of 1.4 years and 2.2 years, respectively, in the last decade.
During the same time period, EU nations reported increases of 0.1 years and 0.5 years.
Gloster said the reason Ireland has seen sharp increases in life expectancy was the decline in deaths from major diseases.
Specifically, Ireland has witnessed significant reductions in deaths caused by cancers, heart attack and stroke.
Further, in the last ten years Ireland has seen a decline in deaths from heart attacks of 18.2 percent, stroke at 33.5 percent and cancers at 33.4 percent.
"The success of our combined community, acute and public health teams in mitigating the impact for so many cannot be understated," Gloster told the committee members, as quoted by the Irish Times.
Gloster also took note of other health statistics, noting that infant mortality rates dropped by 14.3 percent in the last decade to three deaths per 1,000 live births in 2020.
He also acknowledged HSE staff, who he said had been "through several years of additional and demanding periods, brought about by the need to respond to a pandemic, cope with a cyberattack and work through one of the most challenging winters on record for health services."