From a study in (the medical journal) The Lancet:
Greece, Spain, and Portugal adopted strict fiscal austerity; their economies continue to recede and strain on their health-care systems is growing. Suicides and outbreaks of infectious diseases are becoming more common in these countries, and budget cuts have restricted access to health care. By contrast, Iceland rejected austerity through a popular vote, and the financial crisis seems to have had few or no discernible effects on health. Although there are many potentially confounding differences between countries, our analysis suggests that, although recessions pose risks to health, the interaction of fiscal austerity with economic shocks and weak social protection is what ultimately seems to escalate health and social crises in Europe.
From the Reuters report (HT: Euro Intelligence)
Deep budget cuts and growing unemployment are tipping more people into depression, and falling incomes mean fewer people can see their doctors or afford to buy medicines. The result has been a reversal since 2007 of a long-term decline in suicide rates, coupled with worrying outbreaks of diseases including HIV – and even malaria – in Greece, according to an major analysis of European health in The Lancet journal.
Countering these threats requires strong social protection schemes, researchers argue. But the austerity measures imposed after a string of crises in southern Europe – most recently in Cyprus – has shredded such safety nets.”There is a clear problem of denial of the health effects of the crisis, even though they are very apparent,” said lead researcher Martin McKee of the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, a group backed by the World Health Organisation.
“The European Commission has a treaty obligation to look at the health effect of all of its policies but has not produced any impact assessment on the health effects of the austerity measures imposed by the troika.”
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I would just like to take this opportunity to wish all the policymakers who bear collective responsibility for this avoidable disaster a really enjoyable Easter.