Findings of a research on Petty – Corruptions in public healthcare facilities in the Northern, Upper East and West Regions have revealed that public health centres in the three regions are involved in petty corruption.
The research conducted by the Community Development Alliance (CAD-Ghana), a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) referred to petty corruption as the everyday abuse of power entrusted into low and mid-level public officials in their interactions with citizen.
The study revealed that 97 per cent of patients and 96 per cents of healthcare workers affirmed that corruption was wide spread within the health care delivery system, a situation which had the potential to undermine Ghana’s public health outcomes.
It was conducted in 24 primary, secondary and tertiary public health facilities and among 834 patients and 201 health workers in the Northern, Upper West and East regions of Ghana with funding from the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DIFID).
Mr Salifu Issifu Kanton, Executive Director of CAD-Ghana, who presented findings of the research to Mr. Alexander Abban, a Deputy Minister of Health in Accra on Monday said the study depicted that health workers solicited informal payments from patients to provide them with better services.
“It also showed that most health workers used public facilities and equipment to see patients privately or refer them unnecessarily to their privately-owned allied services,” he said.
He said petty corruption was viewed as a normal practice in public health facilities in the three Northern regions as patients were comfortable to make payments without being issued receipts in their quest to access good services.
Mr.Kanton said there was an urgent need to redouble efforts to tackle corruption and eliminate its negative impact in the health delivery system hence Ghana may not attain its aim to attain the Sustainable Development Goal three, which sort to ensure healthy lives and promote the wellbeing of people of all ages.
According to the study, petty corruption is undermining the delivery of basic healthcare services to the poor, pregnant women and children who were in some cases denied services lose their lives needlessly.
The study however recommends that the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service, together with its regional and district facilities take urgent steps to stop all forms of informal payment or formalize them to rid the system of corrupt practices.
It also called for the establishment and operationalization of a robust patient unit with strong disciplinary codes that allows for speedy investigations and severe punishment of public health workers who engage in petty corruption.
It further recommends a halt of the sale of medical supplies such as essential medicines directly to patients among others.
A Deputy Minister for Health, Mr Alexander Abban commended CAD- Ghana for caring out a comprehensive research to point out loop holes in the health sector.
He stated that the society was deprived and the earlier we took steps to nip corruption in the bud the better for us all.
“The issue of corruption in the health sector is not a political issue but rather a national issue, corruption has become endemic in Ghana, we have glorified it and it has become normal in our society,” he said.
He gave the assurance that the ministry would study the findings of the research again and ensure that its recommendations were implemented to rid the health system of corruption.