AHF urges World Bank to use this opportunity to change the way it classifies countries—its policies should not prohibit people from accessing the lifesaving medicines and resources they need.
WASHINGTON (January 8, 2019) AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) welcomes the resignation of World Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim three years prior to the end of his appointment. Kim’s departure offers the World Bank an opportunity to re-evaluate a controversial process that determines which countries are considered middle-income and low-income based on an arbitrary gross national income (GNI) per capita criterion.
AHF’s “Raise the MIC” campaign has advocated for five years, calling on the World Bank to stop classifying developing countries as middle-income—where an individual’s daily income can be as low as $2.73—or about as much as a cup of coffee in a wealthy country. Although in terms of GNI per capita mere cents can distinguish low-income countries (LIC) from middle-income countries (MIC), MICs must pay substantially higher prices for essential pharmaceuticals and receive far less development assistance from funders like the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
“As someone who has often touted his roots in the activist community, Jim Kim’s refusal to change the World Bank’s unfair and immoral definition of middle-income countries is a terrible disappointment and a missed opportunity,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “Developing countries throughout the world are struggling to provide medicines and healthcare to people who are dying every day from diseases that are 100% treatable and preventable, like HIV/AIDS and TB. It’s time for someone to take the helm at the World Bank who will ensure vital support gets to the people who need it most.”
MICs are now home to 75% of the world’s poor people and two-thirds of people globally living with HIV—a virus that still kills almost 1 million people annually. While the international poverty line is set at $1.90 per day, the lower end of the MIC income bracket is only $.83 above that meager daily wage. AHF has argued that a daily income per capita should be set no lower than $10 to be realistically commensurate with a middle-income lifestyle, which allows for disposable income beyond barebones subsistence.
AHF urges the World Bank and its next president to seize this opportunity with Dr. Kim’s early departure to finally address its classification system that keeps the world’s sick and disadvantaged from accessing the healthcare and resources they need. The world is at a tipping point in its response to HIV/AIDS and the Bank needs a leader with the courage to challenge the alarming pullback in development aid and do what is necessary to truly end poverty and the treatable diseases that follow.
About AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF)
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over one million people in 43 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare and Instagram: @aidshealthcare.
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