Study shows how austerity devastated Greece’s health

A new study by a School of Dentistry faculty member and dozens of other researchers from the University of Washington and around the world has found that Greece’s population health declined markedly and death rates rose sharply after harsh austerity measures were imposed on Greece by the European Union and the International Money Fund in 2010.

Gergios Kotsakis

Dr. Georgios Kotsakis

“This study is important because it provides a framework for health surveillance on a national level following major socioeconomic changes,” said Dr. Georgios Kotsakis of the School of Dentistry’s Department of Periodontics, one of the study’s authors.

The study, which was published this week in the British journal The Lancet Public Health, reported that government health spending fell sharply and that the causes of death that increased the most were largely those that could have been addressed by health care. The researchers noted that Greece’s reduced health spending, required as part of the austerity measures, had been criticized for omitting measures to protect the country’s National Health System. They said that health policymakers should place a special focus on ensuring that Greece’s health-care system is equipped to meet the needs of the country’s citizens. Continue reading