Not too long ago, Malaysians were shocked by an investigative report regarding the sale of babies to childless couples. One of the most unsettling elements in the revealing of this undercover was the involvement of medical officers who were selling babies out of their clinic.

This case has brought up the question of how widespread this practice was among medical practitioners nationwide. In order to maintain the dignity and reputation of doctors in this country, it is imperative that steps be taken to combat any form of corruption or fraud at the grassroots level. Here are the ways in which you can help as a healthcare provider.

1. Don’t get involved

Any effort to fight corruption starts with the individual. Corruption leads to a wastage of resources, and sometimes mean that help does not reach the people that need it the most. Corruption in the medical sphere often means that the poor and needy do not get sufficient resources and services. It also leads to a lot of injustice. These are enough reasons not to resort to giving or receiving bribes, and to have a higher standard of ethics in your practice.

2. Support check and balances

If the medical institution you are working for is instilling policies, technologies or systems for a more transparent running of the place, then give it your best support. It may mean that you will need to spend more time on paperwork or administrative tasks.

However, you need to keep in mind that greater accountability will be achieved, and there will be less room for any type of criminal or unethical activity. If you have a practice of your own, consider installing more technologically advanced accounting and stock keeping procedures that are more transparent, and get your accounts audited.

3. Be brave about reporting

In order to promote social justice and create an environment where the rule of law is paramount, you will have to be willing to report cases of corruption or fraud. This may sound easier than it is to carry out, as it may mean that you may involve colleagues or superiors. However, you can be confident that the law protects whistleblowers and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) will protect your anonymity against those being accused or charged.

4. Don’t condone impunity

If you are in a position of authority, cases of fraud and corruption must not be left unpunished. If these are let off lightly, the cycle will continue. Enforcement should be fair and impartial, and not favour anyone simply because of his or her position or connections. It would also be helpful to run anti-corruption campaigns to educate employees on how to identify and stop corruption in its tracks.

5. Support clean and corruption-free practices

Within your own spheres of work, always throw your weight behind leaders who are trying to make a difference, and introducing policies that eradicate corrupt practices. Cleaning up corruption and fraud depends a lot on the upper management policies, so if there is a higher management figure that is leading a campaign against corruption, try your best to support this person and his or her team to your best ability.

Many people do not realise that corruption may feel and look harmless in the beginning, but it causes great harm through a butterfly effect. The negative waves of a simple act of bribery, for example, can lead to a large number of people affected. The fight against corruption and other ethical crimes within the medical body is an ongoing one, which requires the co-operation of every single medical personnel involved. MIMS

Read more:
Doctor admits to making millions from selling prescription drugs to addicts
Singaporean pharmacist jailed for illegally selling 20,440 bottles of cough syrup
Fake eye drops sold in Singapore shops seized