Corruption in the health sector deprives those most in need of essential medical care and helps spawn drug-resistant strains of deadly diseases, says Transparency International's Global Corruption Report 2006, published on Wednesday 1 February.
For the millions of poor held hostage by unethical providers, stamping out corruption in health care is a matter of life and death. 'Corruption in health care costs more than money. When an infant dies during an operation because an adrenalin injection to restart her heart was actually just water - how do you put a price on that?' said Huguette Labelle, chair of Transparency International. 'The price of corruption in health care is paid in human suffering.'
Ms Sara Allin, Dr Konstantina Davaki and Professor Elias Mossialos from LSE Health and Social Care contributed a chapter to the report on Paying for 'free' health care: the conundrum of informal payments in post-communist Europe.
They looked at the causes and consequences of informal payments in Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, where informal financing is a legacy of communist health systems. Informal payments represent an important source of revenue in countries in which pre-payment systems have collapsed.
They argue that raising the wages of health professionals alone is unlikely to eliminate the problem and point to a number of essential policy measures, such as developing appropriate and affordable benefits packages, incentives and suitable information systems to support the accounting and auditing of payments.
To read the report, please see http://www.transparency.org/news_room/latest_news/press_releases/2006/2006_02_01_gcr_2006
Professor Elias Mossialos, LSE Health and Social Care, email@example.com, or call 020 7955 7564
Ms Sara Allin, LSE Health and Social Care, firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 020 7955 6297
Dr Konstantina Davaki, LSE Health and Social Care, email@example.com or call 020 7955 6286
Jesse Garcia, Transparency International Press Office, Tel: +49 30 3438 2019/45, firstname.lastname@example.org
2 February 2006