The Effects Of Increased Privatization Of Health Care On Africa As A Result Of Loan Conditionalities Imposed

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The World Bank (WB or Bank) has transformed from serving primarily to reconstruct post WWII Europe to the world’s largest external funder of health due to the globalization movement. To the global South, the Bank will primarily be known by its controversial Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs). This essay will examine the effects of increased privatization of health care in Africa as a result of loan conditionalities imposed by the Bank SAPs. Effects of SAPs on health and social determinants of health in African countries will be examined with the support of empirical data, followed by a possible explanation for lack of response from the Bank. An outline of existing and proposed alternative solutions will also be evaluated.

Overview of SAPs
SAPs are the result of the Bank’s increasing role in the health sector in the 1980s and 1990s. Conditional loans are given by the Bank to developing countries for “policy adjustment” in order to stimulate economic growth. Main principles of such SAPs include macroeconomic management and stability, trade liberalization, and public sector contraction (2), which entails decentralizing the government through privatization of state-owned enterprises, opening up markets for foreign trade, and reducing public sector (including health) budgets. Motives for such policy reform as stated by the Bank include: the need to address resources misallocation and insufficiency, equitable competition of health care through free market, and the need for
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