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International Herald Tribune: In Romania, health depends on bribery

de A.C.     HotNews.ro
Luni, 16 februarie 2009, 1:35 English | Regional Europe

International Herald Tribune describes the drama of a 30 year old pregnant Romanian, Alina Lungu, who was left into labor for hours as the doctor never appeared and eventually gave birth to a blind and deaf baby boy who suffered severe brain damage.

She explains for the publication that she bribed the doctor with 200 euro in cash during her pregnancy, just to make sure that everything will be in order. However, the newspaper reads, the two are left wondering whether if they had paid more, then their baby boy would have been healthy.

The newspaper goes on to comment that Romania is still struggling to overcome this culture of corruption rooted in Communism. Quoting a 2008 Transparency International report, the daily reads that Romania comes second after Bulgaria as the most corrupt EU member state.

The black market of bribery seems to be the main cause of the low salaries doctors receive - some getting as little as 400 euro. Romania's Doctor's College Vasile Astarastoae shows that doctors often times have to rely on supplementary revenues.

A World Bank study conducted for Romania's Health Ministry concluded that bribery could amount to 280 million euro: when a disease presumes hospitalization, the patient offers in bribes the equivalent of 75% of the average family revenues.


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