Petty corruption prevalent in public health facilities – Research

Research conducted by NORSAAC, a Civil Society Organization (CSO) in partnership with some coalition members has revealed that healthcare service providers in public facilities mostly charge illegal fees to serve clients.

The research, which was conducted under the coalition name People’s Actions Against Corruption (PAAC) found that “97 per cent of patients and 96 per cent of healthcare workers sampled for the study indicated that petty corruption was widespread within the healthcare delivery system and 67 per cent of patients and 62 per cent of healthcare workers agreed that petty corruption is accepted as normal in the delivery of health care”.

This was made known, in Tamale, when NORSAAC engaged some officials of the Northern Regional Health Directorate to disseminate the findings of the research and also discuss ways to curb the issue in health institutions.

The research, titled: “Petty Corruption in Public Healthcare Delivery”, was conducted in 24 health facilities within 13 districts in the Northern, Upper East, and Upper West regions.

It focused on measuring the perception of patients and healthcare providers about petty corrupt practices in public health facilities and investigated the effects of such acts on the delivery of basic quality healthcare services.

Mr Issah Aminu Danaa, Monitoring and Evaluation Manager at NORSAAC, who presented the findings, said about 66 per cent of patients sampled had experienced informal payments in health facilities they had visited for healthcare services.

“Majority said they paid for services, which were covered by National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), paid before they could secure a hospital bed and made payments for services without being given official receipts for such transactions”, he added.

Mr Danaa expressed worry that the situation undermined access to quality basic healthcare delivery to vulnerable groups, especially the poor and needy, pregnant women, Persons with Disability (PWD), and children.

He called on authorities to swiftly adopt measures to help curb the canker.

Health officials in responding to the issue of clients paying for services covered by the NHIS attributed it to high indebtedness of the scheme to service providers.

They also said there were little communication channels through which clients could lay complaints about such acts of illegal charging of fees, and advocated every health facility to develop a strong communication system to help clients report individuals who engaged in the act for actions to be taken against them.

That, he said, would help to combat the canker among healthcare providers, and guarantee clients quality services.

Source: GNA

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