U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from a U4 Partner Agency. The U4 Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International in collaboration with the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre based at the Chr. Michelsen Institute.


What is the experience with and lessons learned from direct or indirect anti-corruption interventions in the health sector among countries in Southeast Asia? Of particular interest are the cases of Vietnam and Cambodia.


Southeast Asian countries present economic, cultural and political conditions that have varying effects on the reform and implementation of anti-corruption efforts in healthcare systems. The most common corrupt practices in the health systems of several of Southeast Asian countries are nepotism, mismanagement of resources, capture of the sector by pharmaceutical and medical providers, bribery and informal payments. Anti-corruption interventions in the medical and pharmaceutical sectors in the region have consisted of promoting integrity, transparency and accountability, quality control testing and social accountability. There is a lack of conclusive empirical evidence about the impact of anti-corruption interventions in the health sector in these countries.


  1. Background: Southeast Asia, corruption and the health sector

  2. Corruption in the health sector

  3. Examples of anti-corruption interventions in the health sector

  4. References

Main points

  1. In some Southeast Asian countries, anti-corruption interventions to promote integrity in the health sector clash with social expectations of how social interactions should take place.
  2. National programmes to guarantee health coverage to poorer populations have indirectly helped to reduce the incentives for bribery in health service delivery.
  3. International initiatives to promote transparency and accountability in the pharmaceutical sector have been implemented in several countries in the region.


Nieves Zúñiga


Ilham Mohamed, Transparency International and Jessica Schultz, U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centr




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