High Tuberculosis Rates Linked to IMF Loan Programs
By HAYLEY HATHAWAY, Jubilee USA, August 1, 2008
This week I have been following a back-and-forth battle between the International Monetary Fund and the authors of a recent study which found that out of 21 post-communist countries, countries with IMF loan programs had a 16.6% increase in Tuberculosis mortality. The IMF is working hard to discredit the study, which hits them where it hurts - the institution’s philosophy that economic stability (at the expense of public services) will lead to poverty reduction has never turned into successful policy and instead is making people sick. This study confirms what debt campaigners have been saying for many years: “Cut the strings! End harmful conditions!” Writes author Sanjay Basu, M.D: "Soon after the countries entered the IMF programs, there was a significant rise in tuberculosis cases and deaths. The rates were stable or improving beforehand. When countries left the IMF programs, their rates of tuberculosis significantly improved.” The IMF has swiftly responded to the study, calling the information “phony science,” though if you dig a bit deeper into the IMF’s criticisms and the authors’ responses, it is easy to see that the IMF has more than just its own budget crisis to worry about.