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Researchers: IMF policies hindered Ebola response

Researchers: Ebola response hurt by IMF policies favoring debt repayment over health spending

Researchers: IMF policies hindered Ebola response

YORK, England (AP) -- Professors from three British universities say economic policies favoring debt repayment over social spending contributed to the Ebola crisis by hampering health care in three worst-hit West African countries.

In a report published by The Lancet Global Health this month the academics allege that loan conditions from the International Monetary Fund prevented an effective response to the Ebola outbreak.

The IMF denied the charges quoting World Bank data to support its argument that its programs contributed to "significantly improved" health in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

The report said IMF lending requires governments to prioritize short-term economic objectives over investment in health. And the IMF's insistence on decentralized health care made a coordinated response difficult.

It said civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone also helped destroy the health systems.