Health in Times of Transition: Trends in Population Health and Health Policies in CIS countries (HITT-CIS; 2009-2013). The project was funded by the European Commission (DG Research – FP7, 2009-2013) and is a 9-Nation-Study: (1), Ukraine (2), Belarus (3), Moldova (4), Armenia (5), Georgia (6), Azerbaijan (7), Kazakhstan (8), and Kyrgyzstan (9). HITT-CIS is a follow-up project that continues the research efforts started in an earlier FP5-Copernicus Project LLH (Living Conditions, Lifestyles and Health, 2000-2003).
Background and expertise
We seek to understand better the circumstances in which people of the post-Soviet countries live, how good or bad is the quality of health service they receive and how they access the healthcare facilities. We also seek to understand their lifestyles, patterns of nutrition, and of alcohol and tobacco consumption.
In addition, we shall evaluate the efficiency of public policies at national, regional and local levels in relation to the health care and securing the healthy circumstance of people’s life.The study addresses one of the thematic priorities set by European Commission in its FP7-Health Call of research projects. The overall aim of HITT is to contribute to the improvement of the health of the populations and health care systems CIS countries. Six of these countries participate in the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP), while Russia and the EU collaborate on the four “common spaces” and Central Asia countries are among the most important economic and social partners of the European Union.
The project has gathered together a unique team of health-care experts, medical doctors and social scientists from EU and CIS countries and Canada. We have collaborated closely for over a decade to understand trends in population health and changes in lifestyles in the post-Soviet countries neighboring of the European Union and with which the EU has established intensive cooperation in trade and in the spheres of human and cultural exchange.
The study addresses one of the thematic priorities set by European Commission in its FP7-Health Call of research projects. The overall aim of HITT is to contribute to the improvement of the health of the populations and health care systems CIS countries. Six of these countries participate in the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), while Russia and the EU collaborate on the four “common spaces” and Central Asia countries are among the most important economic and social partners of the European Union. The specific objectives are to:
Measure and explain the prevalence and distribution of risk factors, health outcomes, and their social, cultural, and economic determinants
Develop and implement validated community profiles to capture the opportunities and obstacles to leading a healthy lifestyle (in relation to diet, alcohol, smoking)
Assess health system performance, focusing on accessibility and quality of health services
Quantify the cost of ill health through reduced labour supply and productivity
Identify opportunities for and obstacles to policy change (alcohol and tobacco) in Russia
Market analysis (alcohol & tobacco)
Regional analysis in Ukraine
HITT-CIS focuses on eight core research themes:
Long-term trends in population health in CIS countries;
Diet and nutrition patters in CIS countries;
Consumption of Alcohol and Tobacco in CIS countries and related public policies ;
Access to health care;
Social and economic burden of disease;
Identification of strategies to improve population health;
Living conditions, Lifestyles and health in CIS countries;
Public health policies in CIS countries.7
The general methodological approach of the project involves the combination of specific expertise in health care issues and social science methods. The health care experts identify the key areas and issues of research. At the same time, social scientists provide sociological measurement tools and techniques, conduct fieldwork and conduct research into the formulation and implementation of public policy issues. Joined analysis of newly collected empirical data will result into a series of detailed thematic reports.
First, we identify crucial factors determining the state of population health.
Second, we collect data on these determinants of health, drawing on a wide range of sources and disciplinary perspectives.
Third, we deploy a palette of research tools and methods to collect and analyze new empirical data.
In our work, we depart from a conceptual model of the determinants of heath and disease. This model distinguishes between the domains of public life, which are the primary sphere of care for national governments and regional authorities on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the domains of individual lives, where the individual people and families must assume their own responsibility.
Who and how will benefit from this publically funded project?
HITT-CIS will make concrete recommendations with regard to the improvement of public health care policies, providing advice to national and international stake-holders. It will:
disseminate findings within each country and to EU policymakers and international researchers;
build capacity through training of researchers;
identify policy implications based upon informed research.
What is the methodology of the study?
The study combines specialist expertise in public health with epidemiological and social science methods. Public health experts identify key areas relevant to policy and define areas for research, while the social scientists develop and refine a wide range of sociological measurement tools and techniques. This combination will provide new insights into an under-researched but extremely important issue.
Geographical and empirical scopes of the project
Coordination: Vienna (Austria), London and Aberdeen (UK)
Expert teams: Hamilton (Canada), Moscow (Russia), Tbilisi (Georgia), Chisinau (Moldova)
European region (Belarus, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine,);
Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia);
Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kirghizstan, Uzbekistan)
HITT-CIS Principal Investigators
Prof. Christian W. Haerpfer (University of Aberdeen UK)
Prof. Martin McKee (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine UK)
HITT-CIS Project Coordinator
Dr. Alexander Chvorostov and the CEASS-Center team at the Institute for Advanced Studies Austria CIS
Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation Canada, Dr. Phil. Salim Yusuf
Open Health Institute, Moscow Russia, Dr. Kiril Danishevski
Curatio International Foundation Georgia, Dr. Ivdity Chikovani
Center for Survey Methodology “Concluzia Prim” Moldova, Dr. Victoria Guzun
CIS Survey Teams
Center for Sociological Studies MGU Russia,,Prof. Sergey Tumanov
State Institute of Management and Social Technologies of Belarusian State University Belarus, Prof. David Rotman
East-Ukrainian foundation for Social Research Ukraine, Prof. Vil Bakirov
Opinia – Independent Sociological and Information Service Moldova, Dr. Olga Danii
Center for Study of Public Opinion Kazakhstan, Dr. Gulzhan Alimbekova (also implements surveys in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan)
GORBI Gallup International Georgia, Dr. Merab Pachulia (also implements surveys in Armenia and Azerbaijan)