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Arch Hellen Med, 34(4), July-August 2017, 533-544


The effects of the Greek financial austerity on public health indices: Births, mortality and suicides

S. Proikaki,1 E. Kotsikou,1 G.I. Lambrou1,2
1Post-Graduate Program "Public Health", National School of Public Health, Athens,
2First Department of Pediatrics, Choremeio Research Laboratory, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece

Greece has been under austerity measures for the last five years. For this reason, public health has been under a tremendous budget cutoff, although the fiscal measures in health were mostly of an economic character, and did not include structural and organizational changes. There is evidence that the fiscal measures have had an impact on public health and specifically on public health indices. To illustrate the effects, a review was made of the relevant literature, along with use of statistical data from several statistical authorities. These data were processed and used for the calculation of health indices. Significant positive and negative correlation was found of health variables with public and private budgets. In particular, positive correlation of the mortality indices change rate with fiscal policy was demonstrated; in addition, there is a possible etiological connection between the suicide and employment rates. It was found that 2.8% of the gross domestic product (GDP) is spent on health by citizens out-of-pocket. It appeared that the birth rate and the GDΡ were strongly, positively correlated, and the number of children per mother index was also strongly correlated with the GDP. The fiscal measures did not have the expected results, but instead, aggravated the problem. The policies applied did not follow the correct path, which would require in-depth knowledge of the problems of the health system. One of the main tools for effective decision making in public health issues is the collection and appropriate use of data. Lack of data results in policies that do not bring about the expected outcomes.

Key words: Fiscal adjustment, Greece, Memorandum, Public health.

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