Eulalia Laichela caressed her six-year-old son, Leosio, who lay on the pavement, coughing from beneath a blanket. They had been waiting in the park outside José Macamo, one of the largest hospitals in Mozambique’s capital Maputo, since early morning.Laichela hoped her sister-in-law, who works at the hospital, would help find a doctor to attend to Leosio before the end of the day. Waiting in the queue at the hospital’s reception area was not an option, she said.
“If you don’t have extra money to pay the doctor, there is no point in doing that. There are many people outside waiting, and they sit there hour after hour without being attended to,” she told IRIN.
Ansina was among the patients waiting in the queue. She feared she had malaria but lacked family connections or money for a bribe. “Something is wrong. I have number 142, and they are calling 188. I have been waiting here since this morning,” she complained to the man next to her. He told her that it is patients’ money that determines who goes first, not their medical conditions.
“That´s why we are still here,” he said. Ansina agreed.
Corruption is rife in Mozambique’s public health sector. According to a 2006 study by the Centre for Public Integrity (CIP) in Maputo, corruption is present at all levels in the system: from the reception to the laboratory, during appointments with doctors, and even at the morgue.
A 2011 regional household survey by Transparency International found that nearly 40 percent of Mozambican respondents had paid bribes for medical services in the past year – the highest such figure in the region. In Mozambique, it was second only to the percentage that had paid bribes to the police.
Read more of the story here at the IRIN news service:
MOZAMBIQUE: Corruption undermining health service