Location UK UK

Ukraine occupies 2nd place in the world in death rate

By: Olena Nizalova

Since its independence Ukraine has been experiencing a significant increase in mortality rates among both males and females.

Prior to war, Ukraine was losing 80 people per hour, leading us to a shameful second place  in the world in terms of the number of deaths per thousand of population (15.72 in 2014). Between South Africa (17.49) and Lesotho (14.91), with the EU average being around 10. Figure 1 below shows the dynamics of the crude death rate for Ukraine, Estonia, Russia and the EU average for the sake of comparison. As can be seen, in early 1990s Ukraine was on par with Estonia and somewhat better than Russia. All three countries have experienced a rapid increase in mortality by year 1994. After that only Estonia had seen a steady decline in mortality, with Russia and Ukraine returning to an upward trend till year 2005. From that time onwards both Russia and Ukraine had observed a decline in the overall mortality with the pace of the decline being slower in the latter.

Figure 1: Crude Death Rate (per 1,000 population).

1Although some positive dynamics has been observed after year 2005, the situation is likely to worsen given the war and resulting disturbances. But at the moment this is impossible to analyse due to the lack of data. Contrary to the common rhetoric, health care system can only be held accountable for part of these deaths – avoidable mortality. Ukraine compares very poorly to other countries on both the levels and the dynamics of avoidable mortality. Estonia serving a particularly great example as it started with the same levels of avoidable mortality as Ukraine in 1991 and now is in a much better position approaching the levels of developed countries. Analysis of the avoidable mortality which can be decreased via policy intervention shows great potential for the country both in terms of smoking policies and road traffic interventions.

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