Millennium Development Goals for Health in Europe and Central Asia is part of the World Bank Working Paper series. These papers are published to communicate the results of the Bank's ongoing research and to stimulate public discussion. This study aims to contribute to the debate about the appropriateness of health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for the countries of the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region. The study has important implications for policy choices at the regional, subregional, and country levels. Despite the fact that averages mask variations that exist within countries, certain conclusions stand out: For the ECA region as a whole, proportionately more gains in life expectancy would accrue from the control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) than from achieving the targets in the classic MDGs. This pattern holds in all subregions. There are proportionately more gains to be had from achieving the classic MDGs in Central Asia and the Caucasus subregions. For priority setting, policy formulations, programs, and development assistance, the key messages from this study are: the importance of reducing morbidity and premature mortality from NCDs and external causes across the entire region; the need for particular attention to the classis MDG indicators (infant mortality rates, under-5 mortality rates, and maternal mortality ratios) in the countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus; the importance of establishing effective and sustainable surveillance, vital registration, and health information systems to provide valid data for local decisions and international comparisons, and the continued need for interagency collaboration in support of all these objectives.
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