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Busting health corruption around the world

Corruption poses a massive threat to health. Whether it’s denying treatment to those who can’t afford a bribe or undermining the global fight to stop Ebola, the actions of the corrupt are endangering the health and wellbeing of millions of people.

Transparency International chapters are working worldwide to expose this abuse and call those responsible to account. To mark World Health Day, here are some stories of health corruption-busting from around the world.

Dodgy dinners in Slovakia

What connects hospitals in Slovakia and an anonymous company in Luxembourg? The answer is a string of very suspicious public contracts that were set to overcharge state hospitals for catering by more than €21 million (US$25 million).

Digging deeper, Transparency Slovakia found evidence that one man was working for two “competing” firms, and alleged links between the companies and government officials. Their findings sparked protests on the streets of Bratislava. Within three days, the minister of health had asked his chief of staff and the managers of three hospitals to step down. Read more

Saving lives in Honduras

Asociación por una Sociedad más Justa (ASJ), Transparency International’s partner in Honduras revealed how corruption in the state-controlled central medicine warehouse was endangering the lives of untold numbers of Hondurans.

Providing proof that millions of dollars’ worth of medicine were being siphoned off and counterfeit and expired drugs were making their way to hospitals undetected, their report led to arrests and quick action by the government. Read more.

What’s on your plate?

This year’s World Health Day is all about #safefood – asking what needs to happen to keep food safe, from farm to plate. Our answer: get corruption out of the food chain.

An initiative by our friends at the International Anti-Corruption Conference, the Journalists for Transparency did their own investigations into food corruption earlier this year. Here are two of their stories.

Food secrets

Whether it's “Italian”-labelled purée made in China, or horsemeat labelled as beef, how much do we really know about the food we eat?

Food transparency can play a key investigative role after the outbreak of a food-borne illness, yet often it’s impossible to retrace the steps and locations food goes through before it reaches the dinner table.

A ranking of 21 OECD countries reveals how much is known about the source and production of food. The results can be stomach-churning. Read more.

China’s tainted school meals

In northern China’s remote Anding District, 244 students fell ill last year after eating a school breakfast.

Local media first reported the incident as suspected food poisoning, yet within hours government officials released a statement claiming the cause was psychological.

A closer look at food safety in Chinese schools where US$2.5 billion funding for school dinners mixed with a lack of oversight could be a recipe for abuse. Read more.

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