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OECD Reviews of Health Systems: Russian Federation 2012

image of OECD Reviews of Health Systems: Russian Federation 2012

This review examines some of the possible reasons for poor population health in Russia and explores possible impediments to further improvements.  In doing so it examines the current health system against the background of the reforms put in place in the 1990s and recent policy efforts to correct some of the most important difficulties.  It also identifies some of the strengths and weaknesses of existing arrangements.

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Introduction

The Russian Federation has faced a difficult period of economic and social transition since the move to a market economy. Severe recessions in the 1990s were accompanied by reduced financing of the health system and consequent reductions in the availability of health care services. Partly as a consequence, indicators of health outcomes weakened sharply and the overall size of the population declined. Recent improvements in the overall economic climate, increased financing for the public health system and a strengthening of broader health care policies in a number of areas appear to be having a positive impact on broad indicators of population health. The decline in the population has progressively slowed; and there was actually an increase in 2010. Mortality has also fallen somewhat and life expectancy at birth has increased starting from around 2004 onwards. Despite these improvements, the Russian Federation still lags behind OECD countries by a considerable margin. For example, Russian average life expectancy at birth – at 69 years in 2010 – is around ten years lower than the average of the OECD countries. The Russian authorities are placing great emphasis on achieving further improvements in the future.

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