Hear this here! EXIT of the DAY:
EXIT 18 I-95s to Allston-Brighton, Cambridge, MA
“If you take the next Exit, you may meet a doctor who has the secret to killing the Coronavirus...
On TV during the Coronavirus Pandemic in May 2020, MSNBC News anchor Ali Velshi spoke with Dr Jim Yong Kim. Having served in numerous illustrious positions Dr Kim had a well balanced perspective on the Pandemic. He recommended various best ways to stop the Pandemic. But are the politicians listening?
Dr Kim perceives the crisis from a medical, social, financial, as well as political perspective. Said he on MSNBC, “We are doing well from the point of view of the Fed pouring money into the economy. The United States is using a bazooka for the economy. But socially as well as medically, we are using a squirt gun. We need contact tracing. We will not stop this pandemic if our responses are not led by data. So long as we do not know who has the virus and where they spread the disease, then COVID will continue to grow regardless of how many people go back to work. So the economy will fail. We need a balanced multi-prong attack that is coordinated.”
Who is this talking head?
Well, Dr Kim’s credentials are as impressive as they are broad. To that we may also add that he thinks outside the box, and as the The New York Times once noted, his ambitious choices are not without controversy.
By training, the good doctor is an anthropologist as well as a medical doctor. Born in South Korea in 1959, at the age of 5, his family immigrated to Heartland America. His Dad taught dentistry at the University of Iowa and his Mom pursued her Ph D in philosophy. Meanwhile young Jimmy not just excelled in class but starred as quarterback on the Muscatine Iowa High School Football team. He also must have been popular. He got elected class president as well.
Having attended the University of Iowa, Brown University, and Harvard, at the age of 27, Dr Kim started a non-profit called Partners in Health. Headquartered in Boston, Partners in Health launched in Haiti to fight infectious diseases. There the organization started community-focused health care programs, which provided treatments based on local data, needs, and limited resources. The net result was to succeed at minimal cost, spending between $150 to $200 per patient. The same treatment in a U.S. Hospital would have cost $15,000 to $20,000 per patient.
Wow! How did Dr Kim do this?
Dr Kim’s Partners in Health trained local citizens to conduct contact tracing. They tracked who may pass a virus by finding out which patient was in contact with another person.
The organization also achieved economies of scale by ordering bulk nationwide quantities for cheaper drugs.
Finally, Dr Kim also insisted patients self quarantine. He and local doctors would cure super contagious patients in their own homes. By the early 1990s, the program in Haiti was serving more than 100,000 people.
Battling AIDS and tuberculosis in Haiti’s most impoverished conditions, the success of Partners in Health catapulted Dr Kim to being a leader in pandemic healthcare. Back in Boston, he accepted the chairmanship of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School before being selected as the President of Dartmouth College from 2009 to 2012. This made him the first Asian American president of any Ivy League institution.
Then President Obama came calling. President Obama nominated Kim to become the President of the World Bank. On April 16, 2012, the World Bank officially elected Kim as its next president. He is the first World Bank leader whose background is not in the political or financial sectors. Most notably, Dr Kim is also the first Bank leader to have previous experience personally and intimately battling infectious viruses on a national scale.
At the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, instituted structural changes. As The New York Times noted in an article by Landon Thomas Jr in 2018, in order to revitalize “a hidebound institution” the good doctor embraced the tactics of Wall Street.
Said the New York Times: “In the fall of 2016, Jim Yong Kim, the president of the World Bank, sat down with some of the most powerful figures in the global economy.
Hosted by Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, their discussion focused on financial trouble spots around the globe. There was scant talk about poverty, which the World Bank has committed to eradicate. And as such, there was no cause for Mr. Kim to join the discussion in a meaningful way.
“I sat there and thought, ‘we are completely irrelevant to the majority of these countries,’” Mr Kim recalled. “The I.M.F. is a systemically important financial institution. But we are seen as just a bunch of do-gooders.”
The World Bank, once a powerhouse of global finance, was then searching for relevance. Mr. Kim’s unusual solution: embrace Wall Street.”
Instead of relying solely on contributions from reluctant donor governments, Dr Kim solicited private investors — sovereign wealth funds, private equity firms and insurance companies — to pony up trillions of dollars for projects in Indonesia, Zambia, India and elsewhere. His pitch: They can get rich!
This new mission statement was considered very unorthodox.
Still, Dr Kim has presided over the dispersal of billions of dollars of World Bank funding. Positioned at 41 in Forbes' Power People 2018 list, Dr Kim oversaw financial loans worth $67 billion in that year alone.
Now a virus is threatening entire countries and now Doctor Kim seeks to institute the lessons he learned earlier in life. Starting right here in Massachusetts, Doctor Kim hopes to institute cheap but effective nationwide contact tracking — just as he did in Haiti.
So we ask again, who is this Talking Head?
The answer may well be: this Talking Head may be the best credited authority to lead the battle against Coronavirus. After all, he wants to blast away with bazookas where now we only use squirt guns. And what nation wants to battle a mortal foe with a squirt gun?”
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