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Journal Article

What targets for international development policies are appropriate for improving health in Russia?

Lock, K., Andreev, E. M., Shkolnikov, V. M., McKee, M.

Health Policy and Planning, 17:3, 257-263 (2002)

Keywords: Russian Federation, health policy

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The OECD countries and the United Nations have agreed to co-ordinate their work around a series of International Development Targets. The targets for health are based on improvements in infant, child and maternal mortality. Progress towards these goals will be used to assess the effectiveness of development policies. OBJECTIVES: To assess the potential impact of achievement of the International Development Targets on health in Russia, and to identify possible alternatives that may be more relevant to transition countries. DESIGN: The study covered the population of the Russian Federation from 1995-99.The effects of reducing infant, child and maternal mortality on Russian life expectancy at birth were modelled using construction of life tables. Three scenarios were modelled, reducing rates to those of the best performing regions in Russia, those required to achieve the International Development Targets and current UK rates. The results were compared with the effect on life expectancy at birth of policies to reduce adult mortality in different ways. RESULTS: Achieving the International Development Targets for infant, child and maternal mortality (66.7 and 75% reductions) will contribute very little to improving life expectancy in Russia (0.96 years). In contrast, even a 20% reduction in adult mortality would give rise to an increase in male life expectancy at birth of 1.86 years. CONCLUSION: Targets for health improvement in transition countries such as Russia should take account of adult mortality as well as the indicators contained in the International Development Targets.

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