follow-up studies demonstrate that the estimated population cause-specific mortality rates are reasonable, there may be substantial differences in diagnostic practice among countries. The results presented below, however, do not suggest that there is more diagnostic error in the data for the former Soviet republics than is observed for other developed countries.

Years of Life Lost Due to Premature Mortality and Excess Years of Life Lost

To capture the importance of death at different ages, we compute years of life lost due to premature mortality, using the methods outlined by Murray et al. (1994) and applied by Murray (1994).5 Estimation of years of life lost due to premature mortality provides a picture of the major causes of mortality, but not of avoidable premature death. To identify avoidable or excess years of life lost, we make comparisons with the rates of years of life lost observed for the Established Market Economies (Murray and Lopez, 1994). Excess years of life lost is then defined as the difference between observed years of life lost for each age and sex by cause and the number expected if the rates of the Established Market Economies are applied in a region. Excess years of life lost thus defined can be negative for a cause if the mortality rates by age and sex for a given disease are lower in a region than in the Established Market Economies.6


This section presents results for geographic patterns of mortality (1990), years of life lost due to premature mortality, and excess years of life lost for the Formerly Socialist Economies.

Geographic Patterns of Mortality, 1990

Summary results for each of the NIS and Eastern European countries comprising the Formerly Socialist Economies are provided in Table 6-3a for males and 6-3b for females. These tables provide 5q0 (the probability of death between birth and age 5); 45q15 (the probability of death between ages 15 and 60); 10q60 (the probability of death between ages 60 and 70); and e(0), or life expectancy at birth. Within the group of Formerly Socialist Economies, 5q0 ranges from 15 to 95 per 1,000 for boys and 11 to 78 for girls. Among adults, male 45q15 ranges from 194 to 305 per 1,000 and female 45q15 from 94 to 155. The high level and extensive range of adult male mortality is most remarkable. Adult male mortality in the Russian Federation, for example, is equal to that of India, whereas adult Russian women enjoy mortality that is 52 percent lower than in India.

The Formerly Socialist Economies are not a homogeneous group as most

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