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Portugal

Austerity undermines welfare and health of the Portuguese – public health expert

The troika’s demands are ‘undermining the well-being of the Portuguese in general as well as their health,’ said a top public health expert.

Sakellarides Constantine, head of Observatório Português dos Sistemas de Saúde (OPSS), also slammed European policymakers for abandoning their responsibilities to the people of Europe.

Constantine’s remarks were made in comments to the Portuguese press ahead of his speech on the impact of the financial crisis on the health of the European population at a meeting this week in Oslo sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Observatory of Public Health 

The public health expert argued that ‘health policies have to be co-ordinated with other policies’ but that this was not happening in the EU.

He said: ‘That is what is currently happening in Europe: first a financial decision is made, then [policymakers] wait to see if the economy grows, and then what its impact is on the welfare of the people. This is the denial of public policy.’

Constantine also described the Troika’s programme in the country as ‘inappropriate’ because it was expecting the country to achieve the impossible in a ‘very short time’.

‘We have fulfilled, almost to the letter, the Troika’s demands. But what the troika asks us to do is not reasonable. They are asking us to do things that are unreasonable, that are not objective, that are not evidence-based, that have no logic, that are an abuse,” added Sakellarides.

The public health expert said that ‘what the troika is demanding undermines the general well-being of the Portuguese and their health in particular.’ He asked for the impact of austerity policies on health to be more accurately monitored and measured.

Esquerda.net

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Writer on Europe's Left, trade union and social movements @tomgilltweets or @revoltingeurope

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