Addressing Corruption in the Health Sector

  • Tackling corruption in the health sector is essential for  achieving better health outcomes.
  • Addressing corruption may seem daunting, but experiences from around the world has shown that a collective donor response can be effective.
  • What is deemed as ‘corruption’ and what constitutes an appropriate response will vary from country to country.
  • Systematic analysis of vulnerabilities to corruption/abuse is necessary to identify problems, select priorities, and sequence interventions in a sector-wide approach.
  • A political economy analysis of the sector can help you be selective, opportunistic and realistic when trying to influence the overall situation.
  • Mitigating strategies should focus on corruption prevention by strengthening transparency, enforceable accountability and stakeholder participation in the health sector. These must be linked to measures to detect abuse and apply sanctions.
  • Tackling corruption in health needs to be linked to broader governance reforms, including public finance, public administration and external oversight reforms. Both, ‘supply’ and ‘demand-side’ reform measures need to be supported, taking into account government’s commitment and implementation capacity, as well as the capacity and environment for civil society engagement.
  • Strategies to address corruption can be systematically integrated into health sector plans using the WHO health systems model and/or health sector integrity strategies.
  • Implementation of mitigating interventions can be monitored through sector reviews and external evaluations.
  • In the absence of an integral sector-wide anti-corruption approach, health advisors should actively look for opportunities to address corruption and unethical behaviour in specific sub-sectors (e.g. drugs) or systems (hospital management, payroll management, etc.).


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