Thursday, March 26, 2009
A 21-year old Latvian suffering from chronic liver disease (primary sclerosing cholangitis) was waiting for a liver transplant. That would be the first liver transplant performed in Latvia.
The operation was planned for December 2008. Then postponed to March 2009. Then, due to the economic crisis and the healthcare budget cuts, postponed again. The patient was suggested to seek a treatment abroad. Which would cost 80000 Euros which the patient did not have.
Three weeks later, he committed suicide by jumping from a 6th floor window.
The budget cuts are taking their toll. Sometimes, it's a very heavy toll.
Here is the Google translation of the story to English. With some mistakes and untranslated words, but readable.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Now, the most-ridiculed government in post-1990 Latvia is gone. (Well, partly gone... and partly part of the new government.) Will Dombrovskis do better?
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
"Latvia's International Monetary Fund (IMF) supported program does not entail large cuts to social spending," Christoph Rosenberg, mission chief for the IMF in Latvia, said in a letter to The Economist.
Although it is true that the fiscal consolidation planned by the Latvian government is indeed large, at around 7% of GDP, social spending, as well as capital spending co-financed by the European Union, is explicitly protected," the IMF representative said in the letter.
What Rosenberg says is half-true, half-false.
True part: social spending was indeed protected from cuts in the December 2008 version of the budget.
Meanwhile, Latvian economy started deteriorating at an increasing speed, to the point that we are watched by the rest of the world as one of the forefronts of the financial crisis.
My work life is still very busy (response of a distant friend when I complained about that: "Consider yourself lucky that you HAVE a job!"). But I am starting to blog again, to describe what is happening in Latvia now.
English language writing about Latvia either focuses on the macroeconomic numbers or on the squabbles of Latvian politicians who keep fighting one another even as the country descends into crisis. What is missing in English language is a human perspective of the crisis, how it is affecting people in their everyday life.
Previously, I've written about numbers and about politicians a lot. I'll keep doing that but I'll also try to give the everyday perspective of the crisis.