Petty Corruption in Healthcare Delivery in Ghana
The health sector in Ghana is choked with allegations of both petty and grand corruption (The World Bank, 2010). Grand corruption consists of acts committed at a high level of government that distort policies or the central functioning of the state, enabling leaders to benefit at the expense of the public good. Petty corruption on the other hand, refers to everyday abuse of entrusted power by low- and mid-level public officials in their interactions with ordinary citizens, who often are trying to access basic goods or services in places like healthcare. Petty corruption is practiced in different forms. These include health worker soliciting a bribe/informal payment, a patient/care giver prompting a health worker to receive a bribe meant to induce him or her to provide better quality care to the patient, use of public facilities and equipment to see private patients, unnecessary referrals to private practice or privately owned allied services. Petty corruption has a direct impact on the poor by denying them access to services and thereby jeopardizing their health. The core of the problem is that, on daily basis, individuals and groups involved in healthcare service delivery are placing their private self-interests over wider public health goals across the health sector in Ghana. This situation has adversely compromised the access and quality delivery of basic healthcare services to poor people mostly pregnant women, children and the aged who suffer and in some cases lose their lives needlessly due to corruption related issues in the healthcare sector. In order for Ghana to meet the Sustainable Development Goal 3 that aims to ensure healthy lives and promote the wellbeing of all people of all ages, there is the urgent need to redouble efforts to tackle corruption and eliminate its negative impact in the health delivery system. However, there is limited studies on petty corruption in the health sector in general and the Northern Ghana in particular.