The Best Thank You to the Doctor Is Your Smile
The aim of this project was to raise awareness amongst patients of bribery in hospitals, through engagement with medical students and professionals.
In 2011, TI Lithuania started a joint campaign with the Association of Young Doctors to address the issue of bribery in healthcare institutions. This is a common practice in Lithuania with over 20% of citizens claiming to have paid a bribe to a doctor. Realising that hospitals and doctors should be the ones terminating this tradition, TI Lithuania and Young Doctors launched an initiative ‘The Best Thank You to the Doctor Is Your Smile’.
- A public reading of the Hippocratic Oath took place by medical students and professionals. This was to remind their colleagues and patients of the importance of up keeping this oath. Recordings of this were made and shared on TI Lithuania’s website. Awareness raising
- During the campaign doctors were invited to put stickers on their cabinet doors stating “The Best Thank You to the Doctor Is Your Smile”. In this way they could publicly state that no extra payments were needed, nor would be accepted from patients. This served as a reminder to patients and allowed doctors to publically show their support for the campaignAwareness raising
- Following TI Lithuania’s campaign, the Ministry of Health announced a description of the procedures for healthcare institutions to obtain the name of transparent institution. It includes both measurement guidelines for corruption in certain institution and recommended initiatives to become a more transparent clinic. This demonstrates the high-level awareness raised by the campaign.
- The number of participating healthcare institutions increased year upon year during the implementation period of the initiative (10 in 2011, 18 in 2013, 38 in 2014, 55 in 2015, 71 in 2016). This demonstrates how more institutions became open to start the dialogue between patients and doctors in order to deal with high bribery rates in healthcare.
- One key learning from the project was that corruption in the healthcare sector is a very sensitive issue. Whilst the public demonstration of the stickers raised awareness of the issue, some doctors felt uncomfortable with their profession being associated with informal payments and therefore corruption. Thus, for the future, it is important to engage more heavily with relevant stakeholders prior to implementation of a campaign to allow opportunity to provide feedback on the campaign whilst also sensitizing stakeholders to the issue.
- Through the success of engagement with other stakeholders, such as medical institutions and doctor organizations, TI Lithuania learned the importance and benefits of working with other groups outside of TI. This engagement provided extra strength to their project which aided the project in achieving implementation of further initiatives and policy changes.
- TI Lithuania also learnt that sometimes utilising a simple message such as “The Best Thank You to the Doctor Is Your Smile” can still have a powerful impact.