Associated Press (10.23.03) - Friday, October 24, 2003
Leading European health officials will gather in Oslo next
week to address the severe health problems facing Russia and
the Baltic states, including HIV and TB.
Vast differences in income, health care and cases of
infectious diseases remain between wealthy northwestern Europe
and the former Soviet Bloc. Per capita earnings in the Nordic
countries can be 10 to 15 times those of Russia, Latvia,
Estonia or Lithuania, said Joergen Kaurin of Norway's health
In 2001, Norwegians had a life expectancy of 79 years,
compared to 65.3 years in neighboring Russia, according to the
World Health Organization. In the same year, Estonia reported
1,470 new HIV/AIDS cases - more than nearby Finland has
reported in its history, even though Finland has more than
three times as many residents. In 2000, Norway reported 4.9
cases of TB per 100,000 people, compared to 94.6 cases in
Russia, according to WHO.
The meeting's final declaration, which Kaurin said will likely
be accepted without change, identifies two key project areas:
prevention of major public health problems and promotion of
social well-being. The meeting is not expected to pledge
funding, but to start programs designed to help eastern
countries reform their health systems, import expertise and
deal with the causes of disease.