It’s time we tackled corruption in healthcare

Corruption has become prevalent in healthcare to the point that it is normalised. From the politician to the patient, individuals routinely place their own private interests above public health goals and patient health outcomes. That was the conclusion from speaking to thirty healthcare experts and anti-corruption specialists across the globe, as part of our most recent research project.

Our earlier research has shown that those working in the healthcare sector have a low understanding of corruption. Previous attempts at providing an overview of the types of corruption in the sector, while providing an excellent resource for those dedicated to the subject, had been complex and lacked comprehensiveness.

This project aims to bring all the relevant information into one space while being easily understandable and accessible for all. We have produced a “map” of corruption in healthcare. This map contains 37 types of corruption that are collated into eight categories, or areas, in health systems.

On our website you can explore the map fully. Take a look at the explanations of each type of corruption, understand better how they occur in practice by examining some case studies, and if you still want to learn more there are links to other resources on the web. Users with jobs in the healthcare sector can explore the map based on their role, with the key players page showing the most relevant corruption categories for their role.

We are also very excited to say we will be publishing an eight-episode podcast series – Diagnosis Corruption. Each episode will cover one of the eight corruption categories identified in our research. The first episode will be published this Wednesday 12 October, providing an introduction to corruption in healthcare and exploring how corruption can occur in the high-level governance of a health system.

And if this is all too much for you, download the project report – Diagnosing Corruption in Healthcare. This provides an overview of the research findings.

We hope that those working in the healthcare sector, from doctors and nurses to company compliance officers and directors, will be able to use this “map” to better understand the corruption risks in the work. We also hope this map will prompt policy makers, in the public health and anti-corruption fields, to tackle this formidable challenge that endangers health outcomes around the world.

Author – Michael Petkov, Programme Officer, Transparency International’s Pharmaceutical’s & Healthcare Programme