News

April 20, 2022

Vulnerable Populations Most Susceptible to Economic Hardships and Health Deterioration from COVID

COVID-19 has been reported to disproportionately affect the most vulnerable populations in society. In a paper published in the Journal of Epidemiology, Research Director Kenji Shibuya, Senior Fellow Takahiro Tabuchi, and other researchers assessed the prevalence of and disparities in economic hardships and their impact on health deterioration in Japan using an internet-based, self-reported survey.

The survey, conducted in August–September 2020 of individuals aged 15–79, examined how physical and mental health deterioration and serious psychological distress related to income loss, money shortage, financial anxiety, and financial exploitation. The authors conclude that timely and prompt responses are warranted to mitigate both economic and health burdens.

In a separate paper published in Healthcare, Senior Fellow Kazuki Shimizu and his co-authors analyzed the extent to which development assistance for health (DAH) was provided in accordance with the disease burden in Ebola-affected countries, which suffered from overstretched health systems and disruptions in essential health services.

Despite a call to achieve equal financial allocation depending on actual public health needs, the authors note that there has been scant examination of the fairness of investment among various infectious diseases. Optimal funding allocations among diseases are warranted in the pre-emergency period and on a real-time basis during an emergency to reflect immediate health needs.

“Economic Hardships and Self-reported Deterioration of Physical and Mental Health Under the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Cross-Sectional Study, 2020, Japan,” Journal of Epidemiology
https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jea/32/4/32_JE20210268/_article

“Disparities in Health Financing Allocation among Infectious Diseases in Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)-Affected Countries, 2005–2017,” Healthcare
https://www.mdpi.com/2227-9032/10/2/179/htm

Profile of Research Director Kenji Shibuya
https://www.tkfd.or.jp/en/experts/detail.php?id=653

Profile of Senior Fellow Takahiro Tabuchi
https://www.tkfd.or.jp/en/experts/detail.php?id=676

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