An health worker wearing protective equipment gives to drink to an Ebola young patient at Kenama treatment center run by the Red cross Society, November 15, 2014. (AFP/FRANCISCO LEONG)
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Alpha Conde, the president of Guinea, was stunned. In front of him, Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, had just called for an increase in the country's budget deficit so that it could battle Ebola – a complete reversal from the Fund's orthodox view that deficits must be closed."These arrangements tied the hands of governments so that when there were disease outbreaks, they didn't have the resources in place to control them," said David Stuckler, Professor of Political Economy at Oxford. According to his research covering 1996-2006, expenditures on health care in countries under IMF programs grew at about half the speed of those not beholden to the Fund.In 2002, Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz accused the IMF of having forced Thailand to chop its health spending during the Asian crisis of 1987-88, risking undermining the country's fight against HIV. The IMF though rejected his accusations as "especially pernicious". The World Bank has set out $1 billion to support health for the affected countries, while the IMF has offered $430 million in loans and debt alleviation.
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