IMF Structural Adjustments Increase TB Incidence, Prevalence, and Mortality

A new study has found that the structural adjustments that the International Monetary Fund requires of countries to which it loans money increase tuberculosis incidence, prevalence, and mortality.  The authors studied tuberculosis epidemiology in countries of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union that received IMF loans following 1989.  This result suggests that there are real health trade-offs associated with the fiscal austerity that follows an IMF loan.  This research is very welcome because it adds a reasoned empirical perspective to the often shrill debates over the relative merits of IMF policies. Harvard epidemiologist and political scientist Megan Murray and Gary King have written a companion Perspectives piece in the same issue of PLoS Medicine.  There is also a nice news story on it in The New Scientist.

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