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Analysis: Corruption in maternity Hospitals

Every second puerpera in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) gives a bribe in the maternity hospital, according to research by the Baby Steps Association. Honoring doctors and medical staff with envelopes or gifts by mothers or members of their families has become commonplace, although taking and giving bribes is a crime. More than two million marks of bribes a year end up in maternity hospitals throughout BiH.

The doctor is satisfied, the birth went well. I gave her an envelope, as we agreed, flowers and of course a bag with the dinner for all the doctors. “

There are many such examples, but few mothers dare to report corruption. The exception is the case of a doctor from the Gradiska hospital, who was sued by the mothers for asking them for a bribe of 700 marks for childbirth and was sentenced to a fine in a repeated procedure. However, the corrupt doctor still works at the hospital and he appealed the verdict.

“We do not receive any official announcement from the court that criminal proceedings are being conducted against someone and that someone has been convicted. Of course, we will react if there is an official verdict, there is a disciplinary commission,said Rajko Dodik, director of the Gradiska hospital.

Distrust in the system that doctors who were sued will be sanctioned is the main reason why mothers do not report corruption in maternity hospitals, according to the president of the “Baby Steps” Association.

“Based on an average of 140 marks per childbirth, given that there are 30.000 births a year in BiH, we have a figure of two million marks given for childbirth in the form of bribes,stressed Amila Tatarevic, President of the ”Baby Steps” Association.

The Union of Doctors of Medicine is of the opinion that this is more of a traditional gesture than conditioning mothers to give money. The president of this union condemns any conditioning in the maternity hospital.

“It is somehow rooted in the people if they give money that the doctor will do better. I don’t think so. We will do the best we can, and our people are used to honor the doctor, after childbirth, which is another problem, mentioned Jovica Misic, President of the Professional Union of Medical Doctors of Republika Srpska (RS).

It was said by Transparency International that the penalties for accepting bribes range from one year to 10 years in prison, and for giving bribes six months to five years in prison. The problem is that bribes are interpreted as giving gifts.

“According to the statements of the mothers, if they did not give a bribe, their health care suffered a lot and they did not realize the rights that were guaranteed to them. In our country, it is perceived not as a bribe, but as a voluntary gift, ie a reward to medical workers, although by definition it is a bribe because those health workers are paid for their work, told Damjan Ozegovic, Transparency International.

It is devastating that in BiH in the last ten years there has not been a single completed lawsuit in which corruption in maternity hospitals has been sanctioned, ” the Association “Baby Steps” warned.

E.Dz.

Source: BHRT

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