International Monetary Fund (IMF) policies left healthcare systems in the African countries worst affected by Ebola underfunded and lacking doctors, and hampered a coordinated response to the outbreak, researchers said Monday.

Links between the IMF and the rapid spread of the disease were examined by researchers from Cambridge University’s sociology department, with colleagues from Oxford University and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

They found IMF programs held back the development of effective health systems in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the three countries at the epicenter of the outbreak that has killed over 7,370 people.

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