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There has been a large-scale widening of the gap in the health status of rich and poor populations in the former Soviet Union and former Eastern European bloc. This was reported in a new report from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). Among other things, the study indicates that every third child in Albania, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan is malnourished, compared with one in seven in Ukraine, Russia, and Armenia. Marc Suhrcke of UNICEF's Italy-based Innocenti Research Centre said that poverty, lack of nutrition and rising use of illicit drugs, alcohol and cigarettes has led to very high mortality rates in these countries (www.sdgate-way.net, December 10, 2001).

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