Introduction. Evidence on disparities of mortality by place of residence based on reliable data is needed for appropriate public health programmes aimed at reducing high mortality in Moldova.
The objective of the study was to determine changes in mortality disparities for all causes and major groups of causes of death between rural and urban populations of the Republic of Moldova after independence.
Material and methods. The data were analysed by sex and place of residence for all causes and seven main groups of causes of death for two periods: 1991-93 and 2017-19. Abridged life tables and standardised death rates with 95% confidence intervals were computed. Mortality inequities between rural and urban areas were analysed in absolute and relative terms.
Results. Cardiovascular diseases and digestive system diseases in both sexes and external causes and respiratory system diseases among men accounted for the rural mortality disadvantage. Cancer mortality had a negative rural-urban gradient. During independence, the rural-urban gradient of all-cause mortality declined among women, but not among men. A more rapid reduction in mortality from circulatory system diseases and a more rapid growth of neoplasm mortality in rural areas than in urban areas narrowed the rural-urban disparities. For external causes and diseases of the respiratory system, inequalities in mortality between rural and urban areas increased over the study period.
Conclusions. Public health programmes aimed at reducing elevated cardiovascular mortality in rural areas are a key strategy for addressing mortality disparities between rural and urban populations.
Keywords: mortality, rural-urban gradient, disparities, causes of death, Eastern Europe.
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„Nicolae Testemitanu” State University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Chisinau,
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