IT'LL TAKE RUSSIA 100 YEARS TO CATCH UP WITH WEST ON LIFE EXPECTANCY, HEALH EXPERTS SAY

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MOSCOW, April 15 (RIA Novosti) - It will take Russia a hundred years to catch up with Western countries and Japan on life expectancy, argues Yuri Komarov, Vice President of the Russian Medical Association.

Speaking at a national medical congress in Moscow Thursday, Komarov said that the life expectancy gap between Russia and the world's most developed countries is now 15 to 18 years.

The most serious problem facing Russia's healthcare system is a high premature mortality rate, Komarov said. Over 40 percent of premature deaths are caused by a delay in medical aid. Accidents are another major cause, he said. As many as 35,000 Russians died on the road last year, and the number of those injured or crippled in traffic accidents increased sevenfold.

The mortality rate in Russia by far exceeds the birth rate, Komarov said. If the tendency persists, the nation will have lost 11 million people by the year 2015, and by 2040 its population will shrink to 90 million., he warned.

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