Within the triangle of healthcare legacies: comparing the performance of South-Eastern European health systems

Mihajlo Michael Jakovljevic*, Jelena Arsenijevic, Milena Pavlova, Nick Verhaeghe, Ulrich Laaser, Wim Groot

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


OBJECTIVE: Inter-regional comparison of health-reform outcomes in south-eastern Europe (SEE).

METHODS: Macro-indicators were obtained from the WHO Health for All Database. Inter-regional comparison among post-Semashko, former Yugoslavia and prior-1989-free-market SEE economies was conducted.

RESULTS: United Nations Development Program Human Development Index growth was strongest among prior-free-market SEE followed by former Yugoslavia and post-Semashko. Policy cuts to hospital beds and nursing-staff capacities were highest in post-Semashko. Physician density increased the most in prior-free-market SEE. Length of hospital stay was reduced in most countries; frequency of outpatient visits and inpatient discharges doubled in prior-free-market SEE. Fertility rates fell for one third in Post-Semashko and prior-free-market SEE. Crude death rates slightly decreased in prior-free-market-SEE and post-Semashko while growing in the former Yugoslavia region. Life expectancy increased by four years on average in all regions; prior-free-market SEE achieving the highest longevity. Childhood and maternal mortality rates decreased throughout SEE while post-Semashko countries recorded the most progress.

CONCLUSIONS: Significant differences in healthcare resources and outcomes were observed among three historical health-policy legacies in south-eastern Europe. These different routes towards common goals created a golden opportunity for these economies to learn from each other.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483-492
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Medical Economics
Issue number5
Early online date17 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - May 2017


  • South-eastern Europe
  • Health resources
  • Utilization
  • Population health
  • Trend
  • Socioeconomic transition
  • Health indicators
  • Post-Semashko
  • Yugoslavia

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