Journal Article

Preventable mortality in the Russian Federation: a retrospective, regional level study

Nikoloski, Z., Shkolnikov, V. M., Mossialos, E.
The Lancet Regional Health - Europe , 29:100631, 1–13 (2023)
Open Access


Background: Avoidable mortality, including both treatable and preventable deaths, is frequently used as an indicator of health system performance. Whilst the term treatable mortality refers to deaths that might be averted by medical interventions, preventable mortality generally reflects the impact of system-wide health policies. The concept of preventable mortality has not been evaluated extensively in the Russian Federation, particularly at the regional or sub-national (oblast) level.
Methods: We calculated total preventable mortality as well as individual rates for males and females in each oblast using data from the Russian Fertility and Mortality Database (RusFMD) and computed the contributions of specific preventable causes of death to the overall rates. We also evaluated the relationship between preventable mortality and its main correlates during the years 2014–2018 using panel fixed effects modelling with variables that reflected both, behavioural risk factors and access to health care.
Findings: Overall preventable mortality in the Russian Federation has been on a downward trend. Whilst 548 preventable deaths per 100,000 person-years were reported in the year 2000, only 301 per 100,000 person-years were reported in 2018. Whilst mortality due to cancer, cardiovascular, and alcohol-related diseases has declined (albeit unevenly) amongst both males and females, deaths resulting from complications of diabetes and human immunodeficiency virus infection have increased. Our findings also revealed significant heterogeneity in preventable mortality at the oblast level. For example, in 2018, deaths due to preventable causes were concentrated primarily in Siberia and the Far East. Smoking and the availability of nurses were identified as significant correlates of preventable mortality at the oblast level.
Interpretations: Efforts designed to strengthen the current health care system, notably those serving the rural and less densely populated oblasts, might reduce the rate of preventable mortality in Russia. These efforts might be coupled with an ongoing focus on programs designed to reduce smoking.

Keywords: Russian Federation, avoidable mortality, regional demography
The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.