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Pilfering for survival: how health workers use access to drugs as a coping strategy

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dc.contributor.author Ferrinho, P. en_US
dc.contributor.author Omar, M. C. en_US
dc.contributor.author Fernandes, M. de J. en_US
dc.contributor.author Blaise, P. en_US
dc.contributor.author Bugalho, A. M. en_US
dc.contributor.author Van Lerberghe, W. en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2007-12-06T14:42:42Z
dc.date.available 2007-12-06T14:42:42Z
dc.date.issued 2004 en_US
dc.identifier.issn 1478-4491 en_US
dc.identifier.doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1478-4491-2-4
dc.identifier.other ITG-H4A en_US
dc.identifier.other ITG-N6H en_US
dc.identifier.other HEALTH en_US
dc.identifier.other U-PUBLIC en_US
dc.identifier.other ELECTRONIC en_US
dc.identifier.other DOI en_US
dc.identifier.other FTA en_US
dc.identifier.other ABSTRACT en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10390/1266
dc.description.abstract BACKGROUND: Coping strategies have, in some countries, become so prevalent that it has been widely assumed that the very notion of civil services ethos has completely - and possibly irreversibly - disappeared. This paper describes the importance and the nature of pilfering of drugs by health staff in Mozambique and Cape Verde, as perceived by health professionals from these countries. Their opinions provide pointers as to how to tackle these problems. METHODS: This study is based on a self-administered questionnaire addressed to a convenience sample of health workers in Mozambique and in Cape Verde. RESULTS: The study confirms that misuse of access to pharmaceuticals has become a key element in the coping strategies health personnel develop to deal with difficult living conditions. Different professional groups (mis)use their privileged access in different ways, but doctors diversify most. The study identifies the reasons given for misusing access to drugs, shows how the problem is perceived by the health workers, and discusses the implications for finding solutions to the problem.Our findings reflect, from the health workers themselves, a conflict between their self image of what it means to be an honest civil servant who wants to do a decent job, and the brute facts of life that make them betray that image. The manifest unease that this provokes is an important observation as such. CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that, even in the difficult circumstances observed in many countries, behaviours that depart from traditional civil servant deontology have not been interiorised as a norm. This ambiguity indicates that interventions to mitigate the erosion of proper conduct would be welcome. The time to act is now, before small-scale individual coping grows into large-scale, well-organized crime. en_US
dc.language English en_US
dc.publisher BioMed Central en_US
dc.subject Health personnel en_US
dc.subject Salaries and fringe benefits en_US
dc.subject Coping strategies en_US
dc.subject Informal economic activities en_US
dc.subject Drug dispensing en_US
dc.subject Mozambique en_US
dc.subject Cape Verde Islands en_US
dc.subject Africa, West en_US
dc.subject Africa, Southern en_US
dc.title Pilfering for survival: how health workers use access to drugs as a coping strategy en_US
dc.type Article-E en_US
dc.citation.issue 4 en_US
dc.citation.jtitle Human Resources for Health en_US
dc.citation.volume 2 en_US
dc.citation.pages 6 en_US
dc.publisher.place London en_US
dc.identifier.pmid http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15115548
dc.identifier.url http://www.human-resources-health.com/content/2/1/4
dc.citation.jabbreviation Hum Resources Health en_US


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