A new risk assessment report on the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), conducted by the Independent Joint Anti-Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Committee, has found that the ministry is embroiled in at least 12 cases of corruption and negligence and that the public and donors have lost trust in it.
According to the report, the issues of corruption within the ministry include bribery, illegally charging for services, embezzlement of public property by its officials, favoritism and ignoring human rights.
The committee talks about the misuse of power in the health ministry and says that officials in the MoPH are appointed based on relations and through the interference of powerful figures.
"Over the past decade, all measures taken against corruption were just lip service and only for a short period of time," said Nasim Akbar CEO of the committee.
"We are committed to defending the people's rights in order to provide them access to better health services. I will defend patients' rights for as long as I am minister here," said public health minister Ferozuddin Feroz.
The committee meanwhile gave 150 recommendations for the ministry to overcome the problem.
"Dr. Feroz asked for a real in-depth assessment into the problems, vulnerabilities and risks of corruption in the ministry of public health," said a Slagjana Taseva, commissioner at International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA).
"There has been limited understanding of the content, and scope of the existing health sector policies, and undue influence from powerful individuals. This has resulted in corruption among priorities in the ministry of public health" said Metio Radic, a technical advisor of the International Anti-Corruption Academy.
Meanwhile President Ashraf Ghani's advisor in development programs' transparency, Sardar Roshan, said that overcoming corruption needs a collective effort.
"Government has the will [to overcome corruption], but considering the depth of the endemic corruption in public offices, we need to uproot this menace carefully," he added.
The study involved more than 260 former and incumbent MoPH employees, civil society activists, tribal elders and patients from 12 provinces of the country.