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The World Bank’s response to COVID-19
by Susan Engel , Nadeen Madkour , Owain Williams
29 October 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic hit a world already struggling to find the fiscal space to adequately fund health and other social services. In this context, it is important to note that the World Bank’s long-term approach to healthcare has severely weakened systems and contributed to the under-preparedness for the current pandemic. The notorious Structural Adjustment Programmes, intimately connected with the Bank’s lending conditionalities has severely limited state expenditure in health care and promoted the expansion of private sector providers, particularly in the hospital sector, diagnostics and rehabilitation services.

This study deeply analyses the Bank’s role in the health sector and includes case studies from Indonesia and Sri Lanka to highlight the issue and the dismal state of affairs, in this sector, during the times of the pandemic. Even though the recommendations are very limited in scope, the study is interesting and worth reading.


Susan Engel
Nadeen Madkour
Owain Williams