The IMF spreads AIDS in Africa

26 de may de 2007

<body><div id="article"><tr><td height="28" valign="middle" width="184"></td><td valign="middle" width="185"></td></tr><h1>The IMF Spreads AIDS in Africa</h1><p>May 26 (EIRNS)--If African countries succeed in obtaining affordable AIDS medications despite the policies of Al Gore and the Cheney/Bush Administration, the IMF may still prevent them from using them effectively.</p><p>A May 2007 special report from Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) [Doctors without Borders] shows why: In most African countries, there are severe shortages of healthcare staff, including doctors, nurses, and others. The rural regions suffer the worst of the shortage, and those needing AIDS antivirals (ARVs) often sit on waiting lists until they die, never getting the treatment they need.</p><p>In their report, MSF places much of the blame squarely on the IMF for their policies of fiscal austerity in poor countries they advise. One section, titled: "Wage bill ceilings and other restrictive measures force rationing of healthcare staff," reports: "Most low-income countries determine their budgets in collaboration with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF encourages countries to set limits on public spending, and these limits are based on domestic resources rather than on need. A ceiling is also set for the total wage bill, which includes all salaries for the public sector. Therefore, even if donors were willing to finance human resource costs, such as increased salaries or new health care worker posts, countries may be prevented from using such funds because of IMF-supported spending limits...The result is that health care posts are limited and salaries are restricted. For example, in 2002, in Mozambique, the caps on wage bills meant many new workers could not be hired; graduating nurses from Tete Nursing School waited up to four years before being employed by government."</p><p>Mozambique has 1.8 million people who are HIV positive. Of the 280,000 of them who need ARV drugs, only 44,100 have been initiated on treatment, a deficit of 235,900, according to MSF.</p></div></body>