Sunday, March 25, 2012

Congratulations, Dr. Jim Kim

A photo at the Dartmouth College graduation ceremonies in 2010
This week was one of the heaviest and most rewarding weeks of the year so far, and not just because the Honorable Right Prime Minister successfully presented the Health Program plan and achievements to the Parliament. This week we have not only started a process of rationalization of greater equity in health sector payments (salary and any prime- or performance-based payments), but we also saw the nomination by United States President Barack Obama of Dr. Jim Yong Kim, the current president of Dartmouth College, as the next President of the World Bank. Knowing Dr. Kim, this nomination is the hope that the meanings of “World Bank” and “Development Bank for the poor” will be one and the same. 

Naming Dr. Kim -- activist and co-founder of Partners in Health -- for this position is impressive, and it finally demonstrates to the 'developing world' that health, and social and economic wellbeing are a basic human rights; and that such an approach is the cornerstone of economic stability. In every place he worked, Dr. Kim made a tremendous impact. And he made numerous peaceful revolutions that the world needed. My favorite revolution happened when I was the Executive Secretary of the National AIDS Control Commission when Jim launched the 3X5 program. At that time, he was leading the Department of HIV/AIDS in World Health Organization in Geneva. These three simple characters (3), (X), (5), were incredibly innovative, unexpected, and far beyond what many of us had dreamt. The courageous 3X5 initiative led to more than 3 million people in developing world gaining access to ARV treatment at a time when so many in the US and Europe were against it. Now, with this World Bank nomination of the best among us, a true fighter for global health and development, we can be sure that funding through loans or grants will have a true human face and will lead to better health, social, and economic outcomes. We can now be certain that a new window for progress has been made, not because of the many awards Dr. Kim has received, or because of his position in the Ivy League, but because his incredibly fast brain will efficiently and quickly serve the welfare of the poorest in the world.