COVID19: Pandemic increases risk of healthcare corruption

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Corruption risks tend to increase in times of crisis, especially when institutions and surveillance are weak while public confidence is low, according to a study by the Cyprus Integrity Forum (CIF).

According to the study, during crises, such as the deadly Coronavirus outbreak, the risk of corruption in healthcare is exacerbated by the dramatically increased pressure on the system.

“Upheaval, uncertainty and disorientation contribute to creating an environment in which corrupt people can take advantage of the crisis to their own benefit,” said the study.

“It is important to maintain and expand transparency, openness and integrity throughout the health sector,” it added.

There are several critical measures that can be taken against corruption, including the open publication of research on vaccines and treatments, the protection of whistleblowers in health systems and the provision of equal access to life-saving therapy.

“However, the need for transparency and accountability goes beyond health systems themselves.”

CIF chairman Marios Skandalis told CNA the Covid-19 pandemic is a major health challenge for the world, but also an opportunity for governments to show their willingness on how to effectively deal with the various effects especially on the economy with rationality and full transparency.

He said the Cyprus government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has been “fully successful so far”, ranking Cyprus among the safest countries in the world.

Skandalis said the CIF study highlights the pitfalls that must be avoided to preserve the sustainability of Cyprus, social equality and environmental integrity.

“And above all, preserve the prestige of our country as a state of law and morals and not as a centre of opportunistic corruption as some have accused us of in the past and are waiting for the opportunity to do it again in the future”.

“We, as Cyprus Integrity Forum, will support such effective measures,  but we will remain, strict judges, if opportunistic or ineffective measures are promoted, putting at risk the prestige and reputation of our country and perpetuating the accusations of previous years based on lack of transparency, sustainability, timeless stability and ethics “.

CIF is an independent, non-governmental, non-politically partisan and non-profit organization, aiming at raising public awareness for combating corruption and promoting transparency.

The study was called: “The need for transparency in the age of COVID-19 Pandemic: The outbreak of the timeless phenomenon of corruption in times of crisis “. (source CNA)