Friday, September 01, 2006

CGK says corruption deepens in health sector

Health sector in Macedonia is seriously jeopardized by various types of corruption unfolding in two segments - procurement of medicaments and medical equipment, and corrupt practices in terms of providing health care, says the latest survey conducted by Center for Civic Communication (CGK).

The survey shows personal benefit at the expense of the citizens in all spheres of public health-care.

The survey shows that wide-ranging scope of abuse of health sector results from absence of transparent procedures related to procurement, extremely weak supervision of spending of money of health-care beneficiaries, including the big solidarity among doctors in terms of hushing up corruption, thus seeing the corruption as a compensation for low wages despite the high professional background.

The lack of accountability for reported abuse also contributes to corruption spread in this sector.

As regards health services, much alarming is the fact confirmed almost by all - the existence of a tariff that sets out the price of bribe depending on the type of service and doctor's skills.

The survey shows that patients' "gratitude" to doctors who took care about their health has become a public secret. The more skilled doctor the higher is the "gratitude" paid out in return.

Some doctors send the patients from public health institutions to private outpatient clinics, where they work overtime. Although this is not a direct form of corruption, the confidence garnered on public account is being used for personal gains.

In some cases, physicians instruct the patients to buy certain drug at certain pharmacy, thus gaining commission from the supplier or pharmacy owner.

Referring to positive experience in Slovenia, large number of participants in this survey point out the need for formation of Assembly of Beneficiaries at the Health Insurance Fund, which is likely to tighten control on funds spending.

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