Premature to claim rise in mortality rates in Russia - Health Minister

The lifespan in Russia has been growing, which has an effect on mortality rates, Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova said in an interview published by Izvestia on Thursday.

"First of all, I would like to say that it is premature to claim a rise in mortality rates. The lifespan of our people has been growing. Whenever a country passes this stage, mortality rates grow at first due to the larger number of elderly people. Yet mortality rates will start to decline in the future although the lifespan will remain long. It is necessary to achieve a growth of mortality rates' reduction increment that would compensate for the 'aging'," Skvortsova said.

The health minister noted that the lifespan in Russia had tangibly extended in the recent years (since 2006), by three to four years.

"This is extremely rare. Our experience has been studied by the World Health Organization in order to understand why we have exhibited a quality shift of the kind. Therefore, we have seen an increase in the number of people older than 60. It has topped 23.5%," she underlined.

Mortality rates had been steadily declining until the middle of 2014 but the rates of decline slowed down in a later period, Skvortsova said. Mortality rates stood at 13.04 per 1,000 people in 2013 and 13.06 in late 2014.

However, Rosstat demographers concluded that mortality rates would have amounted to 12.84 if the age structure of the population had not changed.

"The input of population 'aging' in overall mortality rates was estimated at 1.7% by Russian demographers. We made the relevant report to the government and the president, and the information was verified on the orders of the national administration. This is absolutely reliable, credible data," the health minister said in conclusion.

Read more: Experts puzzled by sudden rise in Russia’s mortality rate

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