Economic crisis and communicable disease control in Europe: a scoping review among national experts

Boika Rechel, Marc Suhrcke, Svetla Tsolova, Jonathan E. Suk, Monica Desai, Martin McKee, David Stuckler, Ibrahim Abubakar, Paul Hunter, Michaela Senek, Jan C. Semenza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: The effects of the current global economic crisis on the spread and control of communicable diseases remain uncertain. This study aimed to explore experts' views about the impact of the current crisis and measures that have been undertaken by governments to mitigate an alleged adverse effect of the crisis on communicable diseases. METHODS: An online survey was conducted during November 2009-February 2010 among experts from national agencies for communicable disease control from European Union (EU) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries. RESULTS: There were few specific national policies and programmes aimed at mitigating the impact of the economic crisis. Prevention services were deemed particularly susceptible to budget cuts (68%) as a result of the economic crisis compared to primary care (28%), according to survey respondents. Services targeted at vulnerable and hard-to-reach population groups were perceived to be at particular risk of deterioration (67%) in contrast to travel medicine (11%), according to respondents. CONCLUSIONS: There is a need for sustainability of financial resources, public health workforce and infrastructures to ensure that the services and programmes for the surveillance and control of the spread of communicable disease are maintained and developed. There is also a need to explore and foster better linkage in data on socioeconomic circumstances and communicable disease outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-175
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Policy
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011

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