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The east-west mortality gap and the rapidly changing pattern of health in eastern Europe have stimulated intense interest over the past decade. Most of the debate has, however, been at the level of countries even though it is clear that some pattern of diseases in eastern Europe would reflect historical boundaries more than the existing ones. For example, mortality in west Ukraine follows a pattern that is much more akin to that of southern Poland than that of east Ukraine. TheAtlas of leading and avoidable causes of death in countries of Central and Eastern Europe gives us the rare, and valuable, opportunity to visualise mortality for the entire region at the sub national level. The atlas consists of sets of maps of life expectancy and mortality in all member states of the WHO European Region, down to the administrative subdivision of countries of eastern and central Europe. With most data presented in the book dating from 1989, it also gives us a snapshot of central and eastern Europe before the fall of the Iron Curtain and the disintegration of the former Soviet Union. While this is of much historical interest, clearly things have changed greatly so an update is now needed. The book would also benefit from presentation of data separately for men and women, especially as the gender gap in mortality in these countries is very large (above 10 years for many countries). Until a new edition appears, you can consult the document on WHO Europe web site (http://www.who.dk/country/country.htm).
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