The Health of Russia’s Population by Regions
On the whole the quality of health of Russia’s population during the past decades not only did not improve, which would have been natural under the conditions of progress in all branches of science and practice, including medicine; on the contrary it has become even worse. It is possible to judge this by according to life expectancy. In 1964–1965 the average life expectancy for the entire population reached 69.9 years. It was of course a great success for that time, but then a gradual decrease began. In 1965 life expectancy in the USA surpassed that of Russia by less than 3 years, but in 1995 the gap had widened to 15 years. Over a 20-year period beginning from 1964, life expectancy in Russia decreased by 1.5 years.
The anti-alcohol campaign in the mid-1980s did produce an increase in average life expectancy: in 1986 it reached 70.1 years for the first time ever in Russia. However, life expectancy continued to then further decline. It is necessary to stress that the reduction in life expectancy in Russia is due to a higher death rate at a young, able-bodied age. This differentiates Russia from the developing countries in which low life expectancy can mainly be attributed to a high infant mortality rate.
According to the results of the last census in 1989, average life expectancy totalled 69.4 years; for men it stood at 64.0 years and it reached 74.4 years for women. In a period of abrupt transition to a new social-economic model for the country the quality of population’s health, and consequently life expectancy, began to fall. By 1994 the life expectancy of the entire population amount to a mere 61.1 years (the population “lost” 5.3 years during this period). Life expectancy fell to 57.4 years for men and 71.1 years for women.
In 1997 the initial sickness rate of the adult population for all diseases of adults in Russia on average slightly increased in comparison with the previous year, mainly due to respiratory ailments (by 2,414.5 thousand people, or 14,4 % compared to 1996). An insignificant increase in the sickness rate was observed for cardiovascular pathology. Treatments related to traumas and poisonings decreased by 3%. An increase in the rate of infectious diseases serves as a distinct indicator of socio-economic troubles.
In Russia, with its vast natural, economic and social contrasts, the quality of health is characterized by very high regional specificity. Having taken in to consideration all of the regional distinctions in social health we can draw the conclusion that among Russia’s regions the best indices are in the Central Chernozem and North-Caucasus regions. Volgo-Vyatsky and the Central economic regions place second and third respectively. The Northwest and North regions come in fifth and sixth. The Povolzhsky economic region is in seventh place. The regions to the East of the Urals have lower health indices in comparison with the regions of European Russia.
The Urals region takes eighth place, the Eastern-Siberian region is ninth and the Western-Siberian and Far-Eastern regions are in tenth and eleventh places. The trend in the declining quality of social health has a vivid geographic expression: from the southwest to the northeast.
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