Bulgaria is among eastern European states where the economic crisis has had a severe impact on households, which was further intensified after ruling GERB party came to power as it curbed healthcare and education expenditures, according to a report of the World Bank.
In an overview assessing the household and government responses to the "great recession" in eastern Europe and Central Asia, the World Bank's experts compare the situation in about 30 countries, grounding its conclusions on 2009 data.
Most of the countries monitored by the World Bank managed to maintain education-related expenditures during the crisis, but that was not the case with Bulgaria. In 2009, Bulgarian households reduced education investments by less than its gross domestic product (GDP) contraction, but other crucial healthcare costs were cut by a larger percentage. The experts concluded that the government not only has failed to alleviate the impact of the crisis, but brought additional burden to households.
The report also said that unemployment in Bulgaria did not seem to be significant, but people were starting to face impoverishment, as the number workers who took home smaller paychecks was six times more than the number of people that lost their jobs.
In an attempt to curb expenditures, Bulgarians have also started to adopt risky coping strategies that not only affect their quality of life but also threaten it. For example, one in five of the poorer families has reduced preventative health care visits and prescription drug use. Such risky coping strategies are mainly used by families of Roma and Turkish minorities, according to the analysts.
Education was among of the fields that was significantly affected by the crisis in Bulgaria, according to the World Bank. Bulgarians continue to send their children to school, but they have cancelled or postponed additional training. This could affect the qualifications of young people and their chance to find well-paid job, the World Bank said. /Source:Dnevnik/