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Arts & Humanities Research Council
British Academy

Health and Welfare in Eastern Europe

Health and Welfare Events

Health and health care in CEECs and Russia

Health care systems in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and Russia have been facing a multidimensional challenge since the collapse of the socialist system. They had at once to cope with the negative sanitary impact of the transitional period, to adapt and to improve health care systems financing and delivery of care in order to cope with the flaws of the inherited health care systems, but also to preserve their achievements.

After nearly twenty years of transition, multiple options for the improvement of national health care systems have been chosen, and CEECs and Russia offer a mixed picture. Some countries coped with sanitary crisis better than others, but in most cases long term inherited patterns have not yet been tackled by the new health care systems introduced. Additionally, the sanitary effects of the transition period are still observable in several countries of the region. Healthcare reforms have in some cases yielded poor results in terms of funding and gains in financial efficiency as well as gains in quality of care delivered to the population.

The goals of this research program were as follows:

  • Establish a clear picture of the health conditions of the population in CEECs and Russia, including in depth study of specific groups such as children, women, and the elderly. Particular attention will be given to regional and local disparities, through a study of issues such as the inequalities in health conditions and in access to health care.
  • Study the development paths of the health care systems in these countries during the first wave of reforms in the 1990s and early 2000s, with a special interest in the changes introduced in the financing mechanisms, the improvements they were expected to bring in terms of both financial and medical efficiency, and their actual achievements.
  • Monitor the most recent measures taken at national/federal and regional levels in the domain of health policy (such as the Russian National Priority Project “Health”), and formulate policy prescriptions aimed at governing bodies and international advisers/NGOs.
  • Study the interactions between health, health care reform and migrations. This includes a study of migrations to seek better care abroad (either from CEECs and Russia to Western Europe, but also from Central Asia to Russia for example). The questions of the health of migrants, of their health consumption habits, and of the potential impact on the health care system of their host country is also at stake. The question of the migration of medical staff due to wage/benefits differentials (from CEECs and Russia to Western Europe but also within the region and from Central Asia) is also part of this line of research.

This line of research complemented existing work being conducted at SSEES, including the MRC funded SALLEE project examining health behaviour of East European migrants in London.

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