Sierra Leone: Bribery in the Health Sector Becoming Worrisome-Afro Barometer

30 September 2020

Presenting the round eight of the Afro Barometer survey at it Wilkinson Road Office, Executive Director, Institute for Governance Reforms (IGR) Andrew Lavalie, told the press that there is an appalling increase of bribery and corruption in the country's health sector, indicating that 53% people paid a bribe to obtain medical care.

While public officials indicted by previous report described the content as mare perception,Lavalie noted that: 'Let me return to citizens experience about corruption because this is not just about perception but people's experience with corruption. Sometimes people say Afro Barometer is just about perception survey but this one goes beyond perception. In terms of payment of bribery 53% of people pay bribe to receive medical care.

He added that the Afro Barometer survey indicates that citizens' experience with corruption ranges from 55% people who paid bribe to obtain police assistance, 40% paid bribe for identity documents, and 41% paid a bribe to avoid problems with the police.

He further that, 20% of Sierra Leoneans pay bribe for public school services and also a 13% decline to 2018.

He said in 2018, there was an increase in the quantity of citizens who said they paid bribes for medical care and identity documents, and to avoid problems with the police.

He added that in 2018, 37% say they can report corruption without fear, whilst 59% expressed risk of retaliation.

In 2020, only 28% say they can report corruption without fear of the risk of retaliation; whilst 61% expressed fear of retaliation and also 80% of the respondents wanted the news media to constantly investigate and report on Government mistakes and corruption related matters.

He continued that there is an overall decline of corruption in most public sector institutions even though there was a slight rise between 2018 and 2019, affirming that the police are still most widely seen as corrupt and leads the table with 62%, albeit it is a decline as compared to 69% in 2012.

He appealed for more work to be done in the fight against corruption in order to avoid a reversal to the position in 2015, as Parliament follows the Police with 41%, Tax Officials with 35%, Civil Servants with 30%, right down to religious leaders with only 11%.

He further disclosed that in 2015; only 18% approved Government's performance in the fight against corruption, adding that things have improved significantly in the last two years, and also in terms of equality before the law, 52% of citizens agreed that people are "always" or "often" treated equally under the law, with 48% saying otherwise, and that 42% of officials who commit crimes "always" or "often" go unpunished.

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