Increased mortality in early 2015 was driven by many factors

28 september 2015

On the UN conference on non-communicable diseases held on September 25 Veronika Skvortsova, the Russian Health Minister, noted that the overall mortality rate in the country has decreased by 14% since 2006 and the life expectancy has risen to the national historic high and amounted to 76.5 years. Nevertheless, in early 2015 mortality jumped up. The situation is commented by the Analytical Center’s Expert Daria Prosyanyuk.

"Over the past decade, mortality in Russia decreased year by year, reaching in 2013 the mark, equal to the pre-crisis period index in the late '90s, despite the fact that the population has slightly decreased. However, during the first quarter of 2015 increased mortality resumed - in the first quarter it reached 5.2%, as of the first two quarters it fell slightly and amounted to 2.3%, " said the expert.

What are the reasons for the increase in mortality in the first quarter of 2015? According to Ms. Prosyanyuk, one of the key facts is a large number of post-war generations that approaches the age of 70 years, which means an increase in the number of deaths in this age group, which, in turn, increases the total number of deaths.

 "However, we should not forget about the indirect factors impact which is difficult to measure. The rising social tensions level, the increasing number of the unemployed and below the poverty line people adversely affect the mortality rate. The decrease in real and nominal incomes of citizens restricts access to paid medical services, the share of which in our health care system becomes more and more significant," said Ms. Prosyanyuk.

Finally, fluctuations in mortality rates can be triggered by the fourth stage of the epidemiological transition that has already touched the population in many post-industrial countries. Relevant are the same diseases that determined the third stage of the epidemiological transition - degenerative (cardiovascular diseases) and the so-called «man-made» (neoplasms), but the death from them occurs at older ages, and the mass death moved to the oldest age.

"Due to the fact that the surge of mortality at the beginning of the year has affected the older age groups, we can talk not only about the significant impact of the economic crisis on people with cardiovascular, neuro-psychological and endocrine systems pathologies for which any stress is a serious risk factor but also about the lack of resources in the health system - the reduction in the supply of imported essential drugs and equipment, the growth of prices of drugs, including Russian-manufactured," considers the expert .

According to the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) polls, the most common problematic situations for the public are the inability to get an appointment to see a doctor and to buy the necessary medication because of its high cost and rudeness, indifference or incompetence of doctors and nurses. The critical state of the country that reduces available resources in this area will limit access to medical care and impair its quality. The progress in medical technology (improving the properties of drugs and antibiotics, diagnostics) and software to protect public health can help. Motivational measures calling for healthy lifestyle, supported by the right policy, can be a powerful factor of the positive impact on health and quality of life of the older generation, which is particularly important in the context of increasing life expectancy.