The 9th December is 'International Anti-Corruption Day'. Whereas I appreciate that this is not directly related to health matters it is indirectly in that corruption in all its various forms impacts on all of us in some way which in turn can affect our health whether it be mental or physical.
Corruption is much more wide spread that most people realise and it affects the behaviour of people in all walks of life. Much of it is quite innocent such as doing a favour for someone in return for them doing something for you. That’s not a problem when it is transparent and nothing is hidden. It is when it escalates to when someone uses their influence to bring about a particular result in return for some form of gain which can be under many guises.
It is frequently done in business even though it is illegal in most countries although rarely enforced. Over the last decade the area that has received most scrutiny has been the incentives given to the medical profession by Pharma which has led to the over prescribing of many drugs.
Even worse than this is the corruption that goes on at political level which can have such wide reaching impact on the well-being and health of the general population. No-where is that more apparent than in Africa. What is interesting is that we are all quick to condemn the dictators and despots who get wealthy at the expense of the general population, but, they are not the only ones to blame. Without businesses from western countries have a lot to answer for in allowing businesses to perpetuate the practice of making payments to politicians in positions of power.
We have been faced with occasions in which difficult business paths in overseas countries could be ‘smoothed’ by the ‘transfer’ of money but as a matter of principle we refuse to do it and instead take the more difficult path, and we always get there in the end. Of course we are not adverse to showing our appreciation when an official is helpful but that appreciation is either in the form of flowers or perhaps a bucket of kiwifruit to be share amongst others in the office.
It would be a far happier and healthy world if everyone was more aware of the implications of corruption and did their bit to help reduce it. To have a look at where your country ranks in the international corruption 'stakes' please click here ("2011 Transparency International CPI Report shows 80% of humans live under corrupt government").