The public health infrastructure of the former Soviet Union was impacted by both the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 and the Soviet breakup in 1991. This paper examines mortality patterns among children aged 1-14 years within the Mogilev region of Belarus between 1980 and 2000. This study utilized a regional cohort design that included all childhood deaths (ages 1-14 years) occurring among persons residing within the Mogilev oblast of Belarus between 1980 and 2000. Patterns of death and death rates were examined across three intervals: 1980-1985 (pre-Chernobyl), 1986-1991 (post-Chernobyl and pre-Former Soviet Union (FSU) breakup) and 1992-2000 (post-Chernobyl and post-FSU breakup) based upon administrative death files. Annual death rates among children aged 1-4 years declined between 1980 and 2000, while mortality rates among children aged 5-9 years and 10-14 years remained steady over this time period. Average annual mortality rates among males aged 5-9 years and 10-14 years increased significantly between 1986 and 1991. Compared to the baseline interval, mortality among both males and females aged 1-4 years was significantly decreased during 1986-1990 and 1992-2000. In general, mortality rates among males were 24%-95% greater compared to females. Injuries and poisonings accounted for the largest proportion of deaths across all age and gender groups examined. Subsequent to the Chernobyl disaster, significant decreases were noted in mortality rates among children aged 1-4 years while mortality rates among children aged 5-9 and 10-14 remained stable.
Similar to the findings in other countries, injuries and poisonings predominated as the leading cause of death among Belarussian children.