In Morocco, health is expensive. Medicine is more expensive there than in nearby Tunisia or in France. Moroccan patients pay hundreds of millions of dollars more for essential medicine than their Tunisian neighbours, according to parliamentary investigations.
It does not help that the health sector is rife with corruption. Our 2013 Global Corruption Barometer found that one in two Moroccans paid a bribe to access medical and health services over the previous two years.
The winner of Transparency International Morocco’s 2013 Integrity Award is trying to do something about it.
Abdelaziz Adnane has tried to clean up a public health system (Caisse nationale des organismes de prévoyance sociale, CNOSP) – which he has run since 2006 – by taking on fraud and finding ways to lower the prices of medicine.
In 2013, his organisation took dozens of fraud cases to court.
Adnane feels that one of the biggest barriers to change was multinational companies and lobbyists who have no interest in reforming the system.
Patients in Morocco buying medicine pay anything from 31 per cent to 189 per cent more than their counterparts do in Tunisia, and an average of 30 per cent more than patients in France.
A 2011 report for Morocco’s competition authority accused multinationals of using Moroccan branches to charge a higher price for medicine than in other countries.
We need more leaders and watchdogs who, like Abdelaziz Adnane, take their role seriously and make it their business to ensure their organisation acts in the public interest.”
– Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International
Saluting global heroism
Transparency International’s Integrity Awards were introduced in 2000 to recognise the bravery of people who stand up to the abuse of power at great personal risk.
Since then, the awards have honoured activists, journalists, civil servants and many others from all around the world. We give national awards in several countries, from Sri Lanka to Uganda, to here in Morocco. Previous winners in Morocco include fruit-seller Mourad Kartoumi and arrested rapper Mouad Belghouat.
Last November, Transparency International’s global Integrity Awards were won by an investigative reporter from China and a human rights activist from Angola.
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