Research objectives and content
It is now apparent that levels of health in the former socialist countries of central and eastern Europe are substan- tially worse than those in the west. After the collapse of the Soviet bloc around 1990 these countries were faced with rapid and widespread societal and economic changes but little is known about how health has been affected by this process. The proposed study will analyse and compare recent health trends in Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and East Germany accompanying this process of transition using mortality data supplied by the WHO and routine data sets from these countries. Based upon a close inspection of these data, I will systematically analyse recent trends in health status in the chosen countries by comparing age-specific death rates for major conditions. Further analysis will examine the contribution of deaths at different age groups and from different causes to changes in life expectancy at birth by using a series of standard demographic tools. The results will not only inform about general mortality trends in Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and East Germany in the post-socialist era but also about specific health problems facing the different countries. For studying potential underlying causes for observable health trends, additional data from health and life-style surveys from East Germany (National Health Survey) will be analysed, primarily focusing on alcohol consumption with other health risk factors also being taken into account.
Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
The proposed study will enable me to acquire competence in methods and techniques required for evaluating and analysing health data on the international level and will lead to a doctorate degree (PhD). These techniques require epidemiological, demographic, and statistical skills as well as skills in etiological and policy research. Based upon the project I am planning to continue my work in this research field in Germany that will build on existing links to the Bielefeld School of Public Health. Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)