Thursday, January 29, 2009

Health amid a financial crisis: a complex diagnosis

Health amid a financial crisis: a complex diagnosis

The global financial crisis could have profound implications for the health spending plans of national governments. Unless countries have safety nets in place, the poor and vulnerable will be the first to suffer. Jane Parry and Gary Humphreys report. “In a recession it is important for governments to protect the poor and vulnerable, but most countries have not yet done this,” Evans says, adding that WHO has long been helping countries develop universal health protection mechanisms that are a vital safety net in times of economic turmoil.
The current financial crisis that started with the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage market in North America and parts of Europe in 2007 has since extended to low- and middle-income countries. Hungary has received emergency financial support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other countries are in talks to secure similar IMF packages. But such support could limit governments’ ability to spend on health. And while developing countries are not yet in recession – defined as two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth – economists are concerned about the global downturn. Some fear it could be as bad or even worse than the great depression of the 1930s.

Financial crisis: long-term perspective needed
21 January 2009 -- The health sector needs to take steps to counter the negative consequences of the financial crisis on global health. Countries also need to take a longer term perspective so their health systems are more resilient in the future, said participants in a recent consultation.
Download the consultation report [pdf 87kb]
Listen to our podcast on financial crisis and health

WHO Warns Economic-Motivated Suicide Will Increase in 2009

The World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the number of suicides could increase as millions of people worldwide grapple with the economic crisis.
“There is a clear evidence that suicide is linked to financial disasters,” Director of the Department of Mental Health for the WHO, Benedetto Saraceno, told Reuters. “I am not talking about the millionaire jumping out of the window but about poor people,” he said.

No comments: