Community Health Works (CHWs) will soon start gaining from the Performance Based Financing (PBF) - an initiative that offers financial incentives to medical practitioners.
With the help of the School of Public Health of the National University of Rwanda, the Ministry of Health intends to conduct a baseline study on 4,800 health workers in 200 sectors across the country.
The study is divided into four arms of 50 sectors each, according to Dr Paulin Basinga, Deputy Director in charge of research at school of public health at NUR.
“In the first arm dubbed ‘demand-side incentives only’, patients will receive gifts every time they visit a health worker while in the second category, health workers will receive financial incentives if they hit the set target,” he said.
He added that in the third category, patients will receive gifts while CHWs will also get incentives while the fourth category is for comparison and has fewer incentives.
Meanwhile, the Ministry intends to develop a work plan with the Rwanda Cooperatives Agency through which funds would be channelled to health workers’ cooperatives and later to individuals.
Currently, there are 432 health workers’ cooperatives.
The community health workers’ PBF will partly be funded by the World Bank, Global Fund and the Spanish Impact Evaluation Trust Fund.
According to the World Bank economist, Christel Vermeersch, the community PBF study will last for two years before it extends to the rest of the country.
“The next step of when and if the program will be extended will depend on the funding of the study,” Vermeersch.
Vermeersch, who has been representing the bank’s interest in PBF in the country, noted that Rwanda is the first country in the world to have the community PBF, adding that the initial program has been a great success.
Between 2006 and 2008, PBF in health centres led to a 23 percent increase in institutional delivery.
In the two years, there was also a 132 percent increase in preventive care visits for children aged between 24 and 59 months.