World health day: challenging healthcare corruption around the world

World health day: challenging healthcare corruption around the world

When it comes to health, corruption can be deadly. Globally, almost one in five people have paid a bribe to access medical services. Countless more are put at risk because health funds are squandered or backhanders allow counterfeit drugs into the system undetected.

But people are fighting back. Last week we reported on how our chapter in Honduras had blown the lid on a national health scandal endangering the lives of citizens. Today, to mark World Health Day on 7 April, we’re sharing more stories from around the world.

India health image

It was like no other day at this maternal health centre in India. Hundreds of people were gathered in front of one woman, who stood with a microphone. The woman was in charge of this health centre, and she had been accused of corruption after refusing to bribe. The people had come to prove her innocence. Read more

Kosovo health image

When an anti-nausea drug turned up on a list of cancer treatments, alarm bells starting ringing for our team in Kosovo, who keep watch over health spending.

Investigating further, they found the drug was replacing two cheaper alternatives – despite no known benefits – causing costs to skyrocket from less than €8,000 to €1.2 million (US$10,061 to US$1.5 million). So they blew the story open. Read more

Morocco health image

On a hot day in Casablanca, Morocco, one man and his daughter raced across the city to the hospital. The 11-year-old, who is almost entirely blind, needed an urgent brain scan for a head injury.

But when they arrived, the nurse said he was too busy. Finding the time would cost 500 dirhams (about US$60) on top of standard fees – a third of the man’s total monthly income overnight. It’s a dilemma that faces too many parents around the world. But this man had back-up. Read more

Nepal health image

Amid high levels of maternal mortality, the government of Nepal created a new incentive programme offering small cash allowances to women who gave birth in hospital.

Yet in one district local officials failed to promote it among their constituents. Instead, they created lists of fake mothers, and pocketed the money themselves. They might have got away with it, were it not for one person who spoke out. Read more

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