AFRICA/SUDAN - Corruption is rampant in public hospitals

Tuesday, 14 June 2016 healthcare  

Community Eye Health

Khartoum (Agenzia Fides) - Since Sudan introduced a health insurance system in 1994, the public health sector has witnessed a deterioration and decline that has led to the emergence of corrupt practices. An investigative report on petty corruption in Sudan points to a number of factors for the decline, including the increase in the number patients without a parallel increase in facilities. Other factors are equipment and access, a decrease in the number of qualified medical staff, low motivation of hospital employees due to poor salaries, and the complicated and ineffective health insurance system that does not cover patients' needs. The complaint comes from activist Sudan Democracy First Group (SDFG).
Examples of corrupt instances include surgery waiting lists. Because of limited capacity, public hospitals have established waiting lists for patients who need surgery. The most common technique is to bribe the medical staff in charge of the surgery waiting list.
Another corrupt activity is the referral to specialist private clinics. Senior medical specialists in public hospitals frequently refrain from seeing all patients, or only see few, and instead refer the remaining to junior medical officers. Hygiene in public hospitals causes another corrupt practice.
Most public hospitals are unhygienic environments caused by neglect and irregular cleaning routines in general wards, public areas, clinics and the surroundings. Leftover food and medicine litter the place, the fixtures and furniture - including patients' beds - are old and dirty, and cats and dogs roam the surroundings. The situation in these hospitals has become so unbearable that patients are eager to be discharged or transferred to private rooms.
However, private rooms in public hospitals cost a substantial amount of money and are not easy to secure because of high demand.
To address these illicit practices in public hospitals, the government should adopt a policy to raise the salaries of the health sector employees and increase their fringe benefits, the activists conclude. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 14/06/2016)