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    STUDIA HISTORIA - Issue no. 2 / 2006  

  Abstract:  Until recently, health has only rarely been an issue of the international political agenda. The situation began to change with the recognition of the risk posed to human security by non-conventional factors such as bioterrorism or a poor health status of the population. At the beginning of the 21st century health has definitely become an actor on the stage of international relations. At the same time, as health is a core component of the human capital, it is an important issue on each state’s political agenda. The paper examines the health status and trends of the Romanian population in a comparison with other Member States of the European Union. After the collapse of the communist bloc, in 1990, all of the Central and Eastern European countries have undergone a difficult period of transition that did not spare their health systems. All of these countries share some common trends of their population health status, but many diverse developments can also be identified. The analysis of mortality indicators for the main causes of death identifies Romania, as well as Bulgaria, as the worst performers among the new Member States. Unfortunately, Romania performs worse even in a time comparison between the years 2004 and 1990. Some key points can be identified: Since 1970, health status has improved continuously in EU-15 Member , while the Central Eastern European Countries had experienced increasing mortality; The political transition caused a “health crisis” in the CEE countries; In Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia the health status has noticeably improved, while in Bulgaria and Romania it remained, at best, the same as prior to 1990. The health gap between the EU-15 Member States and the EU-12 ones can be explained by disease patterns and their underlying risk factors, as well as by the socio-economic situation in these countries. Furthermore, Romania had a particular evolution of its health policy, characterized by marked governance and legislative instability and a lot of hesitations. The hope for the rehabilitation of the Romanian health system resides in understanding that all the proposed strategies should be implemented taking into consideration not only the characteristics of health care delivery in our country, but also (and especially) by considering our cultural background. Unfortunately, the health reform in Romania has often been subordinated to the interests of certain groups (and I am talking about health professionals), but even more often to political interests. The effects of these developments are reflected by the Romanian people health status, which is poor and tends to be poorer, threatening one of our state’s resources: the human capital. This also affects the state’s ability to be a reliable partner in the global effort of improving health and combating health scourges.  
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