Macroeconomic impact of pandemic influenza and associated policies in Thailand, South Africa and Uganda

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BackgroundResearch has shown the value of conducting a macroeconomic analysis of the impact of influenza pandemics. However, previous modelling applications focus on high-income countries, and there is a lack of evidence concerning the potential impact of an influenza pandemic on lower- and middle-income countries.ObjectivesTo estimate the macroeconomic impact of pandemic influenza in Thailand, South Africa and Uganda with particular reference to pandemic (H1N1) 2009.MethodsA single-country whole-economy Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) model was set up for each of the three countries in question and used to estimate the economic impact of declines in labour attributable to morbidity, mortality and school closure.ResultsOverall GDP impacts were less than 1% of GDP for all countries and scenarios. Uganda's losses were proportionally larger than those of Thailand and South Africa. Labour-intensive sectors suffer the largest losses.ConclusionThe economic cost of unavoidable absence in the event of an influenza pandemic could be proportionally larger for low-income countries. The cost of mild pandemics, such as pandemic (H1N1) 2009, appears to be small, but could increase for more severe pandemics and/or pandemics with greater behavioural change and avoidable absence.

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