Corruption, Health & Victim Assistance

Corruption impedes the successful implementation of victim assistance. This was an issue raised during an informal panel discussion in April 2010 at the Vienna Expert Conference on Victim Assistance.  The Vienna Conference was in part intended as an answer to the report Voices from the Ground – Landmine and Explosive Remnants of War Survivors Speak out on Victim Assistance, which highlighted that governments around the world were not living up to their promises to assist and include survivors in society.

Corruption in the health sector can mean the difference between life and death. Poor people are worst affected. World Bank surveys show that in some countries, up to 80 per cent of non-salary health funds never reach local facilities. Medical staff can charge unofficial fees to attend to patients. Ministers and hospital administrators can siphon millions of dollars from health budgets. Or they can accept bribes. This distorts policy and denies people hospitals, medicines and qualified staff. See Corruption by topic – Health,  Transparency International

“Corruption in the health sector is a concern in all countries, but it is especially critical in developing and transitional economies where public resources are already scarce. Corruption reduces resources available for health, lowers the quality, equity and effectiveness of health care services, decreases the volume and increases the cost of services provided.” See Health Sector, U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre.

There is a lot of corruption in governmental, private and quasi-private health care systems. The use of power and influence by health practitioners, officials and organizations for self-enrichment conflicts with their public roles. Corruption can be divided into four main types: bribery, theft, bureaucratic or political corruption, and misinformation for private gain, WHO/Europe. In country after country, the evidence suggests that losses of public funds are significant. See also “New report on corruption in health”, WHO and Corruption in health care “kills en masse,” Peter Moszynski, BMJ. 2006 February 4; 332(7536): 257.

More information:

Addressing Corruption in the Health Sector: Securing equitable access to health care for everyone, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Issue 2011:1) p.  39.

Fighting Corruption in the Health Sector: Methods, Tools and Good Practices, UNDP

How to Note on Corruption in Health, DFID

Snapshot of Victim Assistance in 34 Mine/ERW Affected Countries, 2011, by Jesuit Refugee Service – Cambodia, includes the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index results for each affected state.

Snapshot of Victim Assistance in 34 Mine Affected Countries

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