Phnom Penh (Cambodia), 4 November 2022 - The Healthcare sector is especially vulnerable to corruption, in areas ranging from the procurement of drugs and medical equipment to infrastructure and service delivery. In a sector that concerns human health and quality of life, government officials, healthcare workers, and beneficiaries are particularly exposed to corruption opportunities. It is for this reason that we must be particularly vigilant in guarding against corruption, in order to ensure the integrity of institutions and equitable healthcare for all.
The importance of fighting corruption and promoting integrity in the healthcare sector has become increasingly clear since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which exposed pre-existing corruption risks in health services and gaps in the oversight mechanisms during a period of unprecedented pressure on health services. As the COVID-19 crisis illustrates, it is crucial to strengthen integrity practices in order to protect public funds, maintain high standards in the procurement of medical equipment, and to ultimately support the effective delivery of health services.
With these goals in mind, UNODC collaborated with the Cambodian Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) to organize a Training in Risk Assessment in the Healthcare sector, which took place in Phnom Penh in three sessions, from 1-4 November 2022. The training gathered nearly 100 government officials from institutions such as the Ministry of Health (including His Excellency, the Cambodian Minister of Health, Mr. Mam Bun Heng), the Ministry of Economy and Finance, provincial level health departments and various health facilities throughout the country.
Corruption risks in Cambodia and across Southeast Asia continue to evolve and increase in complexity. As such, Anti-Corruption agencies must continue to build their capacities, invest in the use of technology, and evaluate their strategic responses based on data-driven threat assessments.
To this end, the objective of the training was to support Anti-Corruption and Healthcare officials in Cambodia to develop mitigation strategies against corruption and fraud in the healthcare sector and support the engagement and implementation of these strategies by stakeholders. When applied to the healthcare sector in Cambodia, risk assessment strategies enable stakeholders to identify acute opportunities for corruption and implement policies and practices to effectively prevent its occurrence.
During the training, participants examined the structures, processes, and challenges of the Cambodian healthcare system, including the management of finances and procurement. On the first day of the workshop, participants conducted a systemic review of the healthcare system, including a functional analysis of services and challenges, followed by presentations and plenary discussions. On the second day of the training, participants discussed the potential risks of corruption, including through procurement and service delivery, and assessed the likelihood, impact and cause of each risk individually. On the final day of the workshop, the participants learned mitigation strategies to prevent irregularities in the healthcare sector, and shared challenges and best practices from the Cambodian experience during the plenary discussion.
This Risk Assessment Training was designed and delivered in consistency with the national context and international practices. The workshop has strengthened participants' understanding of corruption risk identification, assessment and analysis, and corruption causes and mitigation strategies, a need that was highlighted by review of implementation of the UNCAC in Cambodia. Throughout the workshop, participants also had the opportunity to network to strengthen domestic coordination and cooperation.
This training was part of activities funded by the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Korea. Footage (where available) and written summaries of UNODC events are publicly available via our website.
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