Corruption in the healthcare sector has taken on increasing importance as a result of the prolonged public health crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, the pandemic exacerbates opportunities for corruption as public expenditures for health care increase and oversight lags. Accordingly, the CEELI Institute has undertaken a new project designed to strengthen capacity of civil society organizations and investigative journalists in Central and Eastern Europe to identify public corruption in the healthcare sector, and to foster greater government accountability for its management of that sector. Corruption in the healthcare sector takes many forms including informal payments, bribes, fraudulent billing practices, and procurement fraud. There are also numerous instances in the region of conflicts of interest on the part of individuals appointed to senior positions in public health ministries and in related public health care institutions.
To address this issue, the Institute has assembled a consortium of local partners in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia. Together, we will work with civil society to (1) monitor and identify public procurement fraud and other financial crimes, (2) strengthen available protection measures for whistleblowers, and (3) monitor appointments and identify conflicts of interest in the healthcare sector ministries and institutions.