Tackling Health Care Corruption and Governance Woes in Developing Countries

May 15, 2006

Fighting corruption in big ticket infrastructure is a constant concern for governments, donors and contractors. But in service delivery efforts like health care where investments are meant to improve people's lives, these same concerns fall off the agenda. Yet health care is no more immune to governance problems than any other sector. Numerous studies have documented such problems, for example, in the procurement of health supplies, in under-the-table payments for services, and in nurses and doctors who fail to show up at their clinics but nonetheless collect their salaries. This brief surveys these problems and suggests mechanisms for addressing them, including better management, improved logistics and information systems, and strengthened accountability. It concludes that while these measures are not easy, they are necessary to ensure that the billions of dollars in donor funding now pouring into developing country health initiatives reaches the intended beneficiaries.

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