September 19, 2016
Embezzlement and misuse of national funds
This can occur at any level of the health system, as funds are transferred from the treasury to health facilities. At the national or ministerial level, high-ranking officials and politicians may siphon off large amounts of the funds. Effective record keeping and regular audits can minimise the risk of embezzlement and misuse.
Inadequate funding can result in the non-payment of salaries and medical supplies not being purchased. As a result, health facilities may have to charge patients to cover their costs, severely limiting the access to healthcare for vulnerable populations.
Commonly, funds earmarked to pay staff salaries are misappropriated at the health facility level. Often the complicit official will covertly route the funds to ghost workers – former, deceased or fake workers. This may affect the level of service provided: the failure to pay salaries to healthcare professionals may mean they do not attend work and instead offer their services privately.