Crisis and revival in the epidemiological development in Hungary after the Second World War

Péter E. Józan, Hungarian Academy of Sciences and Central Statistical Office

The postwar epidemiological history of Hungary has had three periods: the hopeful beginning between 1948-66, the chronic, epidemiological crisis between 1967-93 and the period of revival between 1994-2004. In the first period life expectancy at birth increased considerably, in the second one it decreased in a small extent and in the third one life expectancy at birth increased again in a large extent. An important feature is the epidemiological paradox: i. e. the most successful period of public health occurred during the reign of Stalinist terror and strangely the epidemiological crisis evolved during the liberalization of soft dictatorship. This can be explained by the consecutive stages of epidemiological transition. The market economy and open society have made it possible to achieve a breakthrough in preventing and treating heart disease and cerebrovascular disease and in this way to decrease mortality.

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Presented in Session 3: Health and mortality in Eastern Europe