• Head Office Address: Odotei Tsui Loop, adjacent Ghana Refugee Board, Dzorwulu, Accra East
  • (+233 (0) 303 971 433 / 303 971 435
  • Head Office Address; Odotei Tsui Loop, adjacent Ghana Refugee Board, Dzorwulu, Accra East
  • +233 (0) 303 971 433 / 303 971 435

Not In Our Name: Tackling Extortion in the Ghanaian Healthcare System

Not In Our Name: Tackling Extortion in the Ghanaian Healthcare System

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Corruption within the health service decreases the efficiency and quality of care for all patients and diminishes trust and confidence in healthcare workers. Illegal extortion within the healthcare system is harmful towards the health of the public in general, and the impact is particularly acutely felt by the poorest individuals who are easily exploited due to their lack of knowledge of their rights.

Those who live in rural communities who may have made a long journey for medical attention then face a choice between paying a higher price than they had anticipated or can afford for treatment, or going home with their problem unsolved.

Those who cannot afford to pay the bribes for quicker treatment are pushed down the queue, which can make serious health issues worse. Often this can include PWDs. The health of women and girls may not be prioritized in such a situation in farming households where male family members provide financially for the rest of the family.

Extortion at the point of use within both private and public sectors can take several forms. These include:

  • Demands of unapproved and unnecessary fees by healthcare workers, without issuing of official receipts;
  • Healthcare workers referring patients to private facilities or services where suitable public alternatives are available – ‘quiet corruption’;
  • Doctors vacating or using paid hours for locum;
  • The extortion of bribes in order to be treated more quickly;
  • Demands for payment for items covered by the patients’ insurance; and
  • Unnecessary overnight admission of patients for profit.

The project is a STAR-Ghana funded project on anti-corruption within the health sector. STAR-Ghana is supported by UKaid, DANIDA and the European Union. It is being implemented by a consortium of three organisations working in health: West Africa AIDS Foundation (WAAF) as the lead, Socioserve Ghana and Hope for Future Generations (HFFG) called WASOHO. It is a two-year project (2018-2020).


Main Objectives of the project are:

To reduce the occurrence of corruption within the private and public healthcare systems through:

  • Improving communication channels between senior and frontline staff within the healthcare sector
  • Increasing the exposure of corruption
  • Increasing client confidence in the healthcare system delivery.

Geographical Area

Region Districts
Greater Accra Region  (HFFG) Ningo-Prampram
Ga West
Central Region (HFFG) Assin North
Ajumako Enyan Esiam
Volta Region  (Socioserve Ghana) South Dayi
North Tongu
Upper East Region  (WAAF) Bolgatanga


Northern Region (WAAF)

Tolon – Kumbungu
Savelugu– Nanton
Eastern Region (Socioserve Ghana) Lower Manya
New Juabeng


Major Project Activities Being Implemented

  • Pre-implementation works / A baseline study identifying issues of extortion and poor quality service in healthcare provision across Ghana.
  • Engagement meetings with stakeholders and staff in 14 districts, resulting in reports, a review of policies and procedures and an ‘appraisal toolkit’ for usage in programs of periodic staff welfare and performance appraisals. This will result in better-supported staff, less likely to turn to illegal means.
  • Public engagement programs in local languages in all 6 regions across a range of media. This will result in greater public awareness of the rights of the patient and increased reporting of dissatisfactory and illegal practices
  • Installations of anti-corruption help desks with trained staff in 14 districts and the creation of bespoke online platforms for instant reporting of abuse.