IMF/World Bank: A spot of bother

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Delegates discover this year's IMF/World Bank meetings may be an infectious experience.

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On returning from the IMF/World Bank’s annual meetings in Washington this year, Euromoney was alarmed to find, among the usual post-mortem surveys, a communiqué on infectious diseases.

This was not, in fact, an update on the World Bank’s latest and somewhat controversial pandemic bond but a warning that one of our fellow attendees has been diagnosed with chickenpox.

Such worrying mass mail-outs are becoming a common feature of the annual meetings. When the meetings were held in Bali last year, delegates received reports of several moderate earthquakes and warnings of potential tsunamis. A series of helpful and potentially lifesaving guidelines were issued.

Luckily this year’s warnings were limited to an outbreak of the ‘pox’, an itchy and uncomfortable condition, but one that is rarely life-threatening. Along with the alarming admission were a series of helpful guidelines on how to protect oneself against the rashy arrival.

Euromoney took great interest in the six-step hand-washing procedure, which advised, among other gems, to wet one’s hands before using the soap.

But this proved a gateway to something far more alarming than the pox: the alarming statistic that only 68% of the population washes their hands after using the restroom.