Poor to be hit hardest if Ebola reaches Asia - ADB

Posted at 08/12/2014 7:51 AM | Updated as of 08/12/2014 7:52 AM

If a disease like Ebola were to hit Asian countries like the Philippines, the poorest will be hardest hit, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The ADB said similar to the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003 and the outbreak of the H5N1 virus (avian or bird flu) in 2003 and 2005, if Ebola will not be controlled, it could have long-lasting economic impacts to countries in the region.

“If such an epidemic were to strike, and could not be brought under control, the poor would be hardest hit. With limited access to the health-care system, the delay in seeking health care could result in catastrophic illness and medical fees that drive them deeper into poverty,” the ADB said.

In the Philippines, out-of-pocket health expenses are greater than government health expenses. Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that, in terms of health expenses, Private Sources accounted for the largest share at 69.6 percent in 2012.

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