Bulgaria has the fifth-highest rate of avoidable deaths in the European Union, at about 42 per cent of total deaths of the population younger than 75, according to figures released by EU statistics agency Eurostat.
The concept of avoidable death means that certain deaths (for specific age groups and from specific diseases) could have been “avoided” – that they would not have occurred at this stage if there had been timely and effective health care in place.
In the EU, 1.7 million people aged less than 75 died in 2015. Of those, more than 570 000 (or 33.1 per cent of total deaths) could be considered as untimely. In other words, one death out of three in the EU could have been avoided in the light of medical knowledge and technology, Eurostat said.
Heart attacks (more than 180 500 avoidable deaths or 32 per cent of total avoidable deaths of people aged less than 75) accounted by far for the largest share of potentially avoidable deaths in the EU.
They were followed by strokes (more than 89 600 deaths, or 16 per cent), colorectal cancers (more than 66 800 or 12 per cent), breast cancers (around 49 900 or nine per cent), hypertensive diseases (30 400 or five per cent) and pneumonia (almost 26 000 or five per cent).
The proportions of potentially avoidable deaths through optimal health care vary considerably between EU member states, Eurostat said.
The highest shares of avoidable deaths were registered in Romania (48.6 per cent) and Latvia (47.5 per cent), followed by Lithuania (47.0 per cent) and Slovakia (44.2 per cent).
On the other hand, the share was below a quarter in France (23.6 per cent) and between 25 per cent and 30 per cent in Belgium (26 per cent), Denmark (26.6 per cent), the Netherlands (28.1 per cent), and Poland (29.9 per cent).
(Photo of Sofia Central Cemetery: Bertramz)