Public Health Education in Central and Eastern Europe, and Central Asia
© BioMed Central London 2011
Published: 9 June 2011
The relative risk of premature mortality of the population in Central and Eastern European (CEE) and Central Asian Republic (CAR) countries is more than twice as high (and up to four times higher for post-Soviet republics), as compared to the average of the 15 states that comprised the European Union before May 2004 (EU15). The difference in average life expectancy at birth between the EU15 and the CEE countries is more than seven years, and it reaches ten years in certain post-Soviet states such as Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation, and Ukraine.1 This not only reflects the considerable public health problems in these countries but also seriously hampers sustainable development and international competitiveness of their economies due to weakening human and societal resources. Improving the health of the population in the CEE countries is a key challenge of our times and the pivotal role of schools of public health in the training and orientation of the necessary human resources is unequivocal. In this article, we explore various projects designed to raise the level of public health training and examine the education systems in six former socialist countries that have reorientated their training since the early 1990s. Sustained and expanded efforts to promote public health education and policy awareness in these countries is vital to bringing best international health standards to these countries, which are still transitioning away from the remaining dominance of the Soviet Semashko system and philosophy.