Written by Naftali Mwaura
Donors and philanthropies have devised an innovative financing model to enable poor countries address a rising disease burden and inch closer to attaining millennium targets on health.
Hailed as a breakthrough by global health advocates, the Results Based Financing for Health model (RBF) seeks to reward the providers and recipients of health services after pre agreed results have been achieved and independently verified.
This model deviate from traditional health financing through paying for services delivered rather than inputs.
A brainchild of the World Bank through its flagship Health Results Innovation Trust (HRITF), the Results Based Financing for Health has revitalized healthcare services in developing countries.
Credible research indicated that countries that use RBF can get an additional 20% quality healthcare for the same amount of money.
“Evidence shows that result based financing has a significant impact-saving lives and expanding access to quality, essential health services for the poorest women and children in developing countries,” remarked the World Bank President, Kim Yong Kim.
The World Bank`s managed Health Results Innovation Trust Fund is supporting 36 RBF programs in 31 low income countries.
The governments of Norway and the United Kingdom have committed $ 404 to finance this initiative.
Global leaders, heads of multilateral agencies and charities have supported Results Based Financing for Health initiative due to its ability to transform lives of the poor.
“RBF shows the way for changing aid from a focus on input to a focus on results and outcomes and thus provides a promising new modality complementary to systemic approaches,” said the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel.
Germany has partnered with Norway to implement an RBF project in Malawi to boost maternal health.
On his part, the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon stressed that innovative healthcare financing is critical to meet the health needs of women and children.
“Result based financing can improve the quality and efficiency of services and just as important, enhance equity,” Ban Ki-Moon intoned.
So far Results Based Financing for Health has recorded remarkable success in a number of countries.
In Tanzania, it has enabled the east African country attain 24 hour staffing for birthing clinics where poorly paid staff were working for limited hours.
When Burundi implemented RBF initiative, births at health facilities rose by 25% in one year while prenatal consultations and child immunization rose by 20% and 10% respectively.
Argentina too implemented the RBF initiative and witnessed a 74% decline in neonatal mortality.
In India, an increase from 700,000 to 12 million women using clinics and hospitals to deliver babies was realized due to RBF.
Currently, three quarters of RBF projects are implemented in Africa while 13% are in South Asia.
“Rwanda, Burundi, Nigeria, Cameroon, Zimbambwe and Zambia are all examples where RBF approaches have contributed to significant advances in coverage and quality of maternal and child health services,” noted a statement.
It added that policymakers have recognized the potential of Results Based Financing model to transform health and education sectors that have a direct bearing on a country`s socio-economic progress.