Geneva, 19 January 2023 (TDI): In the health sector, corruption can be life-taking or life-giving. Corruption is threatening the right to health. It diverts life-saving resources from people who are in need.

According to UNDP, about $500 billion of healthcare spending is lost yearly. Moreover, 140,000 children’s lives are lost solely due to corrupt practices. Bribery increases the medical cost of patients, that is pushing 100 million people into poverty each year.

Similarly, fraud and forgery could reduce the safety and quality of health services and products. During healthy emergencies, the unaccounted influx of funding and ease in financial controls could lead to more damages.

Health Sector and COVID-19

During COVID-19, the countries with a higher rate of corruption experienced lower compliance with public health recommendations. This resulted in grave consequences. These countries have lower government and interpersonal trust.

The countries with a higher level of public trust, transparency, and integrity experienced higher vaccine coverage and lower infection rates.

UNDP Guidance for Mitigating Corruption

For building the capacity of the national stakeholders, UNDP has developed step-by-step guidance for the public sector and civil society. The guiding principles are designed to lower and mitigate the risk of corruption in the public health sector.

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The Sectoral Corruption Risk Management Approach

This approach helps the stakeholders to fight corruption by identifying specific decision points, vulnerable to mismanagement. Also, assessing the likelihood and impact of such decisions.

The approach provides practical insight into the occurrence of corruption. Moreover, how to deter it. This approach differs from other approaches that rely on punitive measures and the drivers of individual behavior.

UNDP implemented this approach in ten countries coordinated through Global Network on Anti-Corruption, Transparency, and Accountability. The results have shown positive trends.

Implementation of Sectoral Approach in Countries

In Tunisia, patients received medical services at a lower cost with higher satisfaction. The government stakeholders in Guinea-Bissau appreciated UNDP’s steps in the prevention of corruption.

Also, the role of the UN is to motivate people to discuss this topic. Guinea-Bissau is establishing new administrative controls and an anti-corruption network for advocacy and capacity building.

Fight Against Corruption

In Kenya and Uganda, UNDP trained workers of civil society organizations to support a corruption-free drive mainly through whistleblowing, advocacy, and stronger oversight in service delivery.

Also, UNDP helped in shaping the vital role of civil society in promoting accountability in public healthcare.

Use of Technology and Innovation

UNDP is using the potential of technology and innovation to mitigate and prevent corruption risks in the health sector. It is employing Anti-corruption Innovation Initiative.

The initiative is supported by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation Norad and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

Implementation of Anti-corruption Innovation Initiative in Countries

In Tanzania, UNDP is supporting technical tools for gathering, preventing, and investigating corruption cases. In Vietnam, it is supporting the development and deployment of data collection tools.

In Malawi, it is working with national authorities to improve the security and monitoring of health commodities, such as medicines through a digital supply chain management system.

It is worth mentioning that UNDP would continue implementing corruption risk management approaches and technologies with the help of national and international stakeholders.

This is the part of Sustainable Development Goals. The implementation of SDGs requires more coordinated and collective action to prevent and address corruption.