While the world struggles to control Covid-19, the pandemic has starkly exposed weaknesses in health systems around the world. The rush to find treatments, vaccines and technology has created opportunities for lack of transparency and corruption in research and development and procurement.
The pressures of Covid-19 highlight how corruption and lack of transparency in health can mean the difference between life and death for the public and health workers alike.
Even before the pandemic, corruption in health was an open secret. Every day people around the world face bribes to access healthcare, unknowingly take falsified or sub-standard medicine and endure wasteful or ineffectual treatment.
- Actors from public and private sectors working on anti-corruption and health join forces to fight corruption and strengthen health systems
- Medical research and development is transparent and puts public interest first
- There are transparency and accountability mechanisms in healthcare procurement
- Healthcare service delivery is not undermined by bribes or any other forms of petty corruption
- The health workforce is paid properly and hospitals have sufficient financial and human resources to operate without engaging in any form of corruption
- Medicines are appropriately regulated, ensuring they are not substandard or falsified
- The public and healthcare workers have access to whistleblowing mechanisms to report corruption in the health sector
- Everyone is aware of their health rights and obligations
It’s estimated that
children die every year as a result of corruption in health systems.
Corruption pervades every aspect of health systems around the world. Life-saving resources are siphoned off, clinical data for new medicines and health technology is not transparent, and procurement of supplies is vulnerable to bribery and influence.
The annual amount of healthcare funds which is stolen each year is more than enough to achieve Universal Health Coverage for all – a key commitment of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, which seeks to provide affordable, accessible and quality healthcare for everyone.