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.

The study, which was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, relies heavily on the UW’s 2016 Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD). The 2016 GBD study, conducted by the UW’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), is an outgrowth of the original 1997 GBD study. This was the world’s largest systematic effort to chart the scope of health loss from all major diseases, injuries, and risk factors by age, sex, and population.

Co-authors of the Greece study were Dr. Kotsakis, assistant professor at the School of Dentistry;  Dr. Stefanos Tyrovolas, a visiting scholar at the School of Dentistry; Dr. Andy Stergachis, professor of pharmacy and global health and associate dean at the UW School of Pharmacy; and Dr. Nick Kassebaum, associate professor at IHME and in the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine at Seattle Children’s Hospital. The four were joined by 43 other GBD collaborators in a number of countries, including 15 at the UW.

Greek Flag against sky

The harsh austerity measures imposed on Greece prompted widespread protests.CNN

 

 

 

 

 

 

The researchers identified an increase in the pace at which Greece’s population was aging as another important concern and wrote: “The increase in total deaths in children younger than 5 years and older adults with increase in causes sensitive to resource availability (e.g., access to screening and urgent care) suggest that the health system requires substantial restructuring to cope with the effects that the financial crisis has had on resource availability, resource allocation, and population structure.”

They reported that while the country’s overall death rate rose by about 5.6 percent from 2000 to 2010, it jumped by about 17.7 percent in the six years that followed, after austerity measures were imposed. The rate rose three times faster than the rate in Western Europe overall, and came at a time when mortality rates were actually declining worldwide. The largest increase came among people 70 and older, while the very young also saw a disproportionate increase.

The rise in mortality coincided with changes in causes of death, with notable increases in communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional diseases.

Other findings from the study included these:

  • The incidence of tuberculosis increased among native-born Greeks after austerity was imposed.
  • The incidence of HIV nearly doubled from 2010 to 2012, spurring reinstatement of syringe distribution programs. After this was done, HIV rates declined.
  • The period of austerity saw rises in major depression and suicide, as well as a lack of improvement in in maternal, infant, and child mortality rates.

Notably, the number of individuals with unmet health-care needs nearly doubled since 2010, with a considerable fraction reporting health-care cost as the main reason for not receiving the recommended health-care services,” the researchers wrote.

https://dental.washington.edu/study-shows-how-austerity-devastated-greeces-health/

2 comments on “Study shows how austerity devastated Greece’s health

  1. Paul Craig Roberts: Genocide of the Greek Nation
    August 21, 2018

    The political and media coverup of the genocide of the Greek Nation began yesterday (August 20) with European Union and other political statements announcing that the Greek Crisis is over. What they mean is that Greece is over, dead, and done with. It has been exploited to the limit, and the carcas has been thrown to the dogs.

    350,000 Greeks, mainly the young and professionals, have fled dead Greece. The birth rate is far below the rate necessary to sustain the remaining population. The austerity imposed on the Greek people by the EU, the IMF, and the Greek government has resulted in the contraction of the Greek economy by 25%. The decline is the equivalent of America’s Great Depression, but in Greece the effects were worst. President Franklin D. Roosevelt softened the impact of massive unemployment with the Social Security Act other elements of a social safety net such as deposit insurance, and public works programs, whereas the Greek government following the orders from the IMF and EU worsened the impact of massive unemployment by stripping away the social safety net.

    Traditionally, when a sovereign country, whether by corruption, mismanagement, bad luck, or unexpected events, found itself unable to repay its debts, the country’s creditors wrote down the debts to the level that the indebted country could service.

    With Greece there was a game change. The European Central Bank, led by Jean-Claude Trichet, and the International Monetary Fund ruled that Greece had to pay the full amount of interest and principal on its government bonds held by German, Dutch, French, and Italian banks.

    How was this to be achieved?

    In two ways, both of which greatly worsened the crisis, leaving Greece today in a far worst position that it was in at the beginning of the crisis almost a decade ago.

    At the beginning of the “crisis,” which would have easily been resolved by writing down part of the debt, the Greek debt was 129% of Greek Gross Domestic Product. Today Greek debt is 180% of GDP.

    Why?

    Greece was lent more money to pay interest to Greece’s creditors, so that they would not have to lose one cent. The additonal lending, called a “bailout” by the presstitute financial media, was not a bailout of Greece. It was a bailout of Greece’s creditors.

    The Obama regime encouraged this bailout, because the American banks, expecting a bailout, had sold credit default swaps on Greek debt. Without a bailout the US banks would have lost their bet and paid default insurance on Greek Bonds.

    Additionally, Greece was required to sell its public assets to foreigners and to decimate the Greek social safety net, reducing pensions, for example, to below subsistance incomes and so radically reducing medical care that people die before they can get treatment.

    If memory serves, China bought the Greek seaports. Germay bought the airport. Various German and European entities bought the Greek municipal water companies. Real estate speculators bought protected Greek Islands for real estate development.

    This plunder of Greek public property did not go toward reducing the debt that Greek owed. It went, along with the new loans, to paying the interest.

    The debt, larger than ever still stands. The economy is smaller than ever as is the Greek population that bears the debt.

    The declaration that the Greek crisis is over is merely a statement that there is nothing left to extract from the Greek people for the interest of the foreign banks. Greece is sinking fast. All of the income associated with sea ports, airport, municipal utilities, and the rest of public property that was forcibly privatized now belongs to foreigners who take the money out of the country, thus further driving down the Greek economy.

    The Greeks have not only had their economic future stolen from them. They have also lost their sovereignty. Greece is not a sovereign nation. It is ruled by the EU and the IMF. In my 2013 book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism, in Part III, “The End of Sovereignty,” I described clearly how this was done.

    The Greek people were betrayed by the Tsipras government. They had the option of revolting and using violence to overthrow the government that sold them out to international bankers. Instead, the Greeks accepted their own destruction and did nothing. Essentially, the Greek population committed mass suicide.

    The world financial crisis of 2008 is not over. It has been swept under the rug of massive money creation by the US, EU, UK, and Japanese central banks. The creation of money has far outpaced the growth of real output and has driven up values of financial assets beyond what can be supported by “conditions on the ground.”

    How this crisis plays out remains to be seen. It could result in the destruction of Western civilization. Will Dog eat dog? After Greece, will it be Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium, Australia, Canada, until none are left?

    The entirety of the Western World lives in lies fomented by powerful economic interest groups to serve their interests. There is no independent media except online, and those elements are being demonized and denied access. Peoples who live in a world of controlled information have no idea of what is happening to them. Therefore, they cannot act in their interest.

    https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/08/21/genocide-of-the-greek-nation/

  2. Michael Hudtson:Η Ελλάδα υποδουλώθηκε – Οι πολιτικοί της την ξεπούλησαν

    Πικρές αλήθειες από τον Michael Hudtson, διακεκριμένο αναλυτή Οικονομικών και Καθηγητή του Missouri Univercity . Οι πολιτικοί ξεπούλησαν την Ελλάδα (!!!)

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