The Best Thank You to the Doctor Is Your Smile
The aim of this project was to raise awareness amongst patients that bribery is not a key to good treatment in hospitals, and that the best way of expressing gratitude towards a doctor is to simply say “thank you”.
Transparency International Lithuania is continuously searching for unconventional methods to engage citizens in a conversation about corruption in the healthcare sector. Since 2011 it supported the young doctors anti-corruption campaign ‘The Best Thank You to the Doctor Is Your Smile’, aimed at drawing attention to the problem of petty bribery in the healthcare sector.
- A public reading of the Hippocratic Oath took place by medical students and professionals as a reminder of the values and ethical standards that doctors uphold. Recordings of this reading were published on TI Lithuania’s website.Awareness raising
- During the campaign, doctors were encouraged to put stickers on their office doors saying that “The Best Thank You to A Doctor Is Your Smile”. By this means, they could publicly state that no extra payment from patients is needed, nor would it be accepted. This served as a reminder and allowed doctors to demonstrate their commitment to the campaign.Awareness raising
- Following TI Lithuania’s campaign, the Ministry of Health announced a set of criteria that healthcare institutions needed to fulfil in order to be allowed to call themselves a transparent institution.
- The number of participating healthcare institutions grew year by year throughout the implementation period (10 in 2011, 18 in 2013, 38 in 2014, 55 in 2015, 71 in 2016). It demonstrates how institutions became more open to start communicating with their patients and doctors in order to tackle the high bribery rates in healthcare sector.
- One key lesson from this initiative is that corruption in the healthcare sector is a very sensitive issue. Whilst the public demonstration of the stickers raised awareness, some doctors felt uncomfortable with their profession being associated with informal payments and therefore corruption. Thus, for future reference, it is important to actively with engage relevant stakeholders prior to the implementation of a campaign to get their feedback on the campaign and address the most significant issues to them in advance.
- Through the success of engagement with other stakeholders, such as medical institutions and doctors' organizations, TI Lithuania learned the importance and benefits of working with other groups outside of TI.
- TI Lithuania also learned that sometimes using a simple message such as “The Best Thank You to A Doctor Is Your Smile” can make a powerful impact.