Ugalde A, Jackson J. Las políticas del Banco Mundial: una revisión crítica. [The policies of the World Bank: a critical review.] Cuadernos Médico Sociales [Medico-Social Notebooks] ( Rosario , Argentina ) 1998 May; 73:45-60.

Objectives: To analyze recommendations concerning healthcare policies issued by the World Bank in its 1993World Development Report, “Investing in Health.”

Methodology: Analytical and interpretive.

Results: The authors describe the World Bank’s institutional characteristics. The size of contributions determines control over the Bank’s policies. The United States designates the Bank’s President and decides institutional policies, together with the United Kingdom , Germany , France , and Japan . The World Bank’s decisions play an important role in shaping the global economy.

The article presents a selective analysis of some of the Report’s recommendations: privatization, decentralization, quotas for economic recovery, and programs for nutrition and basic medicines. Regarding the health sector, the authors posit that the Bank’s focus corresponds to an ideological development model that favors richer nations in the northern hemisphere at the expense of poorer nations in the southern hemisphere. The authors also point out that the index of disability-adjusted life expectancy, which the World Bank favors, contains serious theoretical flaws and predictably will be completely abandoned within a few years.

Conclusions: “Investing in Health” offers little as a guide for health policy makers and may lead to denial of essential health services in poorer countries.

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Copyright 2007 University of New Mexico