Via EUobserver.com: Greece and creditors guilty of 'denialism' over public health crisis. Excerpt:
BRUSSELS - The Greek government and its creditors are guilty of "denialism" about the scale of the public health crisis caused by the country's harsh austerity programme, leading international medical researchers have claimed.
A huge rise in suicides, HIV infections and infant mortality rates are just a few of the consequences on public health of Athens' spending cuts, according to a report published on Friday (21 February) by the Lancet, one of the world's leading medical journals.
The number of HIV infections among drug users soared from 15 in 2009 to 484 in 2012 as a result of cuts to AIDS prevention programmes, while infant mortality also rose by 43 percent. Meanwhile, locally transmitted malaria, which had previously been effectively eradicated, has returned to the country.
Mental illness has also been on the rise, with the percentage of the Greek population suffering from "major depression" rising from 3.3 percent to 8.2 percent between 2008 and 2011, alongside a 45 percent increase in the national suicide rate.
Rapidly increasing levels of unemployment has left an estimated 800,000 Greeks without unemployment benefits and health coverage, the report claims.
The researchers - from Cambridge University and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine - say that the Greek government and the international community have continued to claim that the spending cuts have not damaged public health care despite mounting evidence to the contrary.
"In view of this detailed body of evidence for the harmful effects of austerity on health, the failure of public recognition by successive Greek governments and international agencies is remarkable," says the report.
"This dismissal meets the criteria for denialism".