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Financial Crisis Threat To Health: WHO

  • January 20th, 2009
  • Posted by Daniel Challis

The World Health Organisation warned yesterday (19.01.09) the global financial crisis may result in a rise in mental illness and an increase in people using harmful substances like alcohol and tobacco…

Director-General Dr Margaret Chan spoke of the ill effects of an economic downturn on people’s health at a Conference in Geneva, saying such an occurrence “has happened in the past”.

Dr Chan said health standards might worsen as unemployment rises, government spending on health drops and savings and pension funds begin to diminish.

The Director-General said an economic downturn could also lead to people neglecting health care as well as letting prevention fall by the wayside.

As well, public health services would become over-burdened, at a time when their funding was being held down.

“In times of economic crisis, people tend to forego private care and make more use of publicly financed services,” she said.

Dr Chan said women and children were often among the first to feel the effects of a deterioration in financial circumstances.


Dr Margaret Chan, World Health Organisation, Geneva, ‘Financial crisis and global health’ (19.01.09),, (20.01.09).