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World Bank health strategy rejected

23 April 2007


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European executive directors and alternates have written a letter to staff in the human development network to explain their rejection of the draft health, nutrition and population strategy. Gender and reproductive health groups have been bombarding the directors with complaints over the alleged watering down of the strategy by Wolfowitz-appointee managing director Juan José Daboub.

In their letter, the directors sternly rebuke Bank staff for disregarding board directions and the Development Communiqué, calling it “surprising” that the strategy makes virtually no reference to sexual and reproductive health. Neither the document nor the hastily added supplemental note “contain a clear position on how the Bank engages in issues of sexual and reproductive health”. Both documents place reproductive health within the framework of population policy, which the board members say is “unacceptable”.

The letter backs up suspicions that, in addition to confirmed deletion of references to family planning in the Madagascar health strategy (see spring meetings descend into chaos), managing director Daboub has also intervened in the overall health strategy. Daboub’s position must surely now be in question.

This is surprising considering the Bank has committed almost

The letter backs up suspicions that, in addition to confirmed deletion of references to family planning in the Madagascar health strategy (see spring meetings descend into chaos), managing director Daboub has also intervened in the overall health strategy. Daboub’s position must surely now be in question.

billion to sexual and reproductive health

The directors have called for a postponement of the scheduled 24 April board discussion of the strategy. Subject to revisions to the strategy, the board will decide an appropriate date to revisit the strategy.