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Historical development of life expectancy

In Ukraine, the Human Rights Measurement Initiative[1] finds that country is fulfilling 79.4% of what they should be fulfilling for the right to health, based on their level on income.[2]

Health status

An ambulance in Kyiv.


The crumbling, poorly financed healthcare system and rumours that children have fallen ill or even died after being immunised have led to a very poor vaccination rate.[3][4][5] In August 2016, 30% of children in Ukraine were fully immunized against measles, 11%, against hepatitis B, and 3% of against diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus.[6] At the time Ukraine had the lowest routine immunization rate in the world.[6]

As of June 2019, Ukraine is suffering one of the world's worst measles epidemics with more than 100,000 cases since 2017, with 16 deaths in 2018. In 2016 only 31% of the population had been immunised with the MMR vaccine. Various reasons are given for the low rate of vaccination including: a distrust of the state in the 1990s, a failure to keep vaccine supplies reliably refrigerated leading to ineffectiveness, a poorly informed medical profession and a high level of vaccine distrust in the wider population. Children are required to be vaccinated before entering the school system, but Unicef estimates that as many as 30% of vaccination certificates are falsified.[7][8]

High blood pressure and obesity

Further information: Obesity in Ukraine

According to a study, entitled "Main reasons for the high death rate in Ukraine" conducted by the World Bank and released in December 2010 every third Ukrainian aged 18–65, including every fifth aged 18–25, had a high blood pressure. Almost 29% of the respondents suffered from being overweight, and 20% suffered from obesity.[9]


According to the above-mentioned 2010 World Bank study 36% (28.6% is the average in Europe) of Ukrainians smoke tobacco, including 31% of those who smoke every day. Men with primary education and women with higher education are inclined to smoking. Some 80% of daily smokers are men. The average age that daily smokers start the habit is decreasing, and at present is 16 years. In the younger age group there are four times as many smokers as in the older age group. The smallest percentage of smokers is to be found in the west of the country (24.6%), while the largest is in the east (34%).[10]


Further information: Disability in Ukraine

2.7 million people in Ukraine (6%[11]) were reported as having a disability in 2014.[12] This number did not include the (reportedly) 1.5% of people with temporary disabilities.[12] In 2014, 35% of people aged 60–70 had some age-related disability. For people aged over 80 years, this number grew to 50%.[12]

Ukraine is notoriously "disability unfriendly".[12][13] For example, in the capital Kyiv only 4% of infrastructure is considered to be "disability friendly".[12]


Main article: HIV/AIDS in Ukraine

Ukraine has one of the fastest growing HIV/AIDS epidemics in the world. About 1.63 percent of Ukrainian adults, or about 756,300 citizens, were estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS in 2007, up from 1.46 percent of the population in 2005, or 685,600 citizens, according to UNAIDS. The statistics only reflect official cases, while those infected is likely higher according to UNAIDS.[14] The number of HIV/AIDS cases in Ukraine reduced by 200 or 3.9% to 4,900 in the period of January–November 2008, compared with the corresponding period of last year. Ukraine has one of the highest rates of increase of HIV/AIDS cases in Eastern Europe.[15]

Mental health

A 2017 article in The Independent reports that due to its mainly macho, patriarchal culture there is great resistance to psychotherapy in Ukraine. Weak mechanisms for licensing effective counsellors aggravates this resistance and a shame fostered by the years Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union[nb 1] compounds the problem, owing to Soviet authorities rendering psychiatry a tool for punishment (by imprisoning political dissidents in asylums) demonised mental health issues further.[17]


2007 and 2008 16.4 cases per 1,000 population. At the same time, a number of oblasts have much higher mortality rates: Chernihiv — 21,1 %, Sumy and Kirovohrad — 18,6, Donetsk — 18,1, Luhansk — 17,9 %. Negative natural increase in 2008 was observed in all regions of Ukraine, except Zakarpattia and Rivne regions and Kyiv.

Structure of causes of death in 2008:

diseases of the circulatory system 63.7%

Demographic decline

Further information: Demographics of Ukraine

Ukraine is considered to be in a demographic crisis due to its high death rate and a low birth rate. The current Ukrainian birth rate is 11 births/1,000 population, and the death rate is 16.3 deaths/1,000 population. A factor contributing to the relatively high death is a high mortality rate among working-age males from preventable causes such as alcohol poisoning and smoking.[18]

In 2008, the country's population was one of the fastest declining in the world at -5% growth.[19][20] The UN warned that Ukraine's population could fall by as much as 10 million by 2050 if trends did not improve.[21]

See also



  1. ^ "Human Rights Measurement Initiative – The first global initiative to track the human rights performance of countries". Retrieved 2022-03-04.
  2. ^ "Ukraine - HRMI Rights Tracker". Retrieved 2022-03-04.
  3. ^ "Ukraine health system in danger of collapse as reforms stall". Reuters. 23 December 2015. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  4. ^ Stern, David (22 September 2015). "Ukraine health officials fear big polio outbreak". BBC News.
  5. ^ "Why does Ukraine have Europe's lowest vaccination rate?". BBC News. 12 October 2013.
  6. ^ a b "U.S., Canada Ambassadors urge putting routine immunization in Ukraine back on track".
  7. ^ Tim Whewell; Kateryna Shipko; Diana Kuryshko (22 June 2019). "The medical student who died of measles". BBC News. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
  8. ^ Wadman, Meredith (12 February 2019). "Measles cases have tripled in Europe, fueled by Ukrainian outbreak". Science. doi:10.1126/science.aaw9903. S2CID 134362877. Archived from the original on 18 February 2019. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  9. ^ "Every third Ukrainian has high blood pressure - Dec. 14, 2010". 14 December 2010.
  10. ^ "Over one third of people in Ukraine smoke - Dec. 14, 2010". 14 December 2010.
  11. ^ "People and Society: Ukraine". CIA World Factbook. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
  12. ^ a b c d e (in Ukrainian) Ukrainian city for all or only for the elect?, Ukrayinska Pravda (21 August 2014)
  13. ^ Heroes in Rio, Ukraine's disabled struggle at home Archived 2018-12-17 at the Wayback Machine, Yahoo! News (23 September 2016)
  14. ^ "Ukraine losing HIV/AIDS fight - May. 07, 2008". 7 May 2008.
  15. ^ "United Nations Registers More Children With AIDS In Ukraine". Ukrainian News Agency. December 1, 2008. Archived from the original on 2013-01-05. Retrieved 2009-01-25.
  16. ^ A History of Ukraine: The Land and Its Peoples by Paul Robert Magocsi, University of Toronto Press, 2010, ISBN 1442610212 (page 563/564 & 722/723)
  17. ^ Three years of conflict takes its psychological toll on the people of Ukraine, The Independent (8 January 2017)
  18. ^ "What Went Wrong with Foreign Advice in Ukraine?". The World Bank Group. Archived from the original on 2009-07-20. Retrieved 2008-01-16.
  19. ^ "Field Listing - Population growth rate". CIA World Factbook. Archived from the original on June 13, 2007. Retrieved 2008-07-05.
  20. ^ State Statistics Committee of Ukraine Retrieved on 07-09-09
  21. ^ UN population estimates[permanent dead link] UN Retrieved on 07-09-09