Transparency International has released its 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index which gauges levels of perceived public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories around the world. The index scores them on a scale of zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (clean) with the average score just 43 out of 100. As Statista’s Niall McCarthy notes, two thirds of countries scored less than 50. The research found that corruption was rampant across the world in 2020 and that it undermined the response to Covid-19, threatened the global recovery and contributed to democratic backsliding.
Transparency International states that 2020 has shown that Covid-19 is not just a health and economic crisis but also a corruption crisis. When it comes to healthcare in particular, corruption takes many forms such as bribery, embezzlement, overpricing and favoritism. Reports of corruption have grown since the pandemic broke out and countless lives were lost due to the issue undermining a fair and equitable global response.
Countries with high investment in healthcare tended to perform better in the index with corruption diverting money away from essential services. Governments that saw higher corruption levels, regardless of economic development, tended to invest less in their health systems.