Aim. To analyse differences in the use of health care and certain medications as well as in undergoing examinations for early detection of cancer according to the region of residence in Estonia.
Methods. Data from the Health Behaviour Among Estonian Adult Population 2012 study were used for analyses. For the purposes of the study, a stratified random sample of Estonian population was drawn from the Population Register – 5000 individuals aged 16 to 64 years. Questionnaires, compiled in both Estonian and Russian, were mailed in March-April, 2012, to which 2969 individuals responded. Regional differences in comparison with Northern Estonia were estimated by odds ratios (OR) with the 95% confidence intervall, adjusted for gender, age, education, income and economic activity, using multilevel logistic regression.
Results. Compared with Northern Estonia, the following indicators were significantly higher: use of family physician`s care in the past 12 months in Southern Estonia; average number of visits by users of family physician care in all regions; number of hospital admissions; use of various medications in the past seven days; and, for women, nonadministration of a PAP test in the past five years in Northeastern Estonia. Compared with Northern Estonia, the fol lowing indicators were significantly lower: use of sedatives/hypnotics/antidepressants in Central and Western Estonia; for women, non-administration of a PAP test in the past five years in Southern Estonia.
Conclusion. Compared with Nor thern Estonia, only Northeastern Estonia displayed significant differences in all studied domains. Significant regional differences were not noted in the non-administration of mammography provided mostly within the framework of national screening. Most likely, the reasons for the above analysed differences lie, among other things, in the applied regional health care system.