Cordaid approach discussed in National Assembly

Cordaid is one of only two international agencies to implement a new nationwide World Bank health program in the Central African Republic. Its goal: to reduce infant and maternal mortality. The program was the main topic in today’s National Assembly in the capital of Bangui. Health Program Manager Béatrice Looijenga was there to represent Cordaid.

The origins of the new World Bank health program go back to a pilot project started by Cordaid in the prefecture of Nana Mambéré in 2009. There we introduced results-based financing (RBF) to improve the quality and access to basic health care, especially for young mothers and children.

“Our aim is to increase the utilization rate of health services from the current 10-20% to 50%.”

Béatrice Looijenga, Health Program Manager 

This video, which was also presented to the national assembly in Bangui today, gives an impression of what we did in Nana Mambéré:

From pilot project to national program

Béatrice Looijenga: “The World Bank was impressed by the results in Nana Mambéré and decided to upscale this approach to 5 out of the 7 health zones of the country. This means we can reach a population of more than one million people, who are in desperate need of quality health care. Cordaid will be the implementing partner in 3 of the zones. Our aim is to increase the utilization rate of health services from the current 10-20% to 50%. This means that one in two persons will visit a doctor at least once a year. This will definitely decrease mortality rates.”

“Cordaid’s success in improving the health system with an RBF approach has been acknowledged.”

Béatrice Looijenga, Health Program Manager

Presenting Cordaid’s RBF approach in the National Assembly

The minister for Public Health, madame Fernande Ndjengbot, presented the new World Bank health program to some 200 deputies. Looijenga, who helped to present Cordaid’s RBF approach in health and other sectors, was impressed by the lively discussion that followed: “The deputies, all representing their constituencies, know very well that the mortality rates among mothers and infants – which are essentially poverty indicators – are among the highest in the world. Cordaid’s success in improving the health system with an RBF approach has been acknowledged. The deputies asked the government to step up its efforts and use more of the national budget for health care. Upon which the minister said health budgets for 2017 would be increased up to 70 million CFA. Parliamentarians also wanted to be sure that in time the World Bank program can be taken over by local experts, thus increasing the durability of its impact. In fact, local empowerment and increasing local capacities is at the core of Cordaid’s intervention, so it wasn’t hard to convince them.”

Empowering local structures

Cordaid’s offices, in the capital as well as in the provinces, are staffed for over 90% by local Central African aid workers and experts. In fact, apart from a few expats, the implementation of all our programs is in the hands of locals. Looijenga: “For the new World Bank program  we will open 3 small offices who will be buying, contracting and monitoring health services in the coming two years. These 3 offices will then become independent Central African agencies who will continue assuring quality and affordable health care services in the region after we have stepped back.”

Some results

Here are some results of our health program of the past 6 years:

  • 140 health centers and 11 hospitals have improved the quality and access of their services thanks to our results-based financing approach
  • More than 214.000 curative consultations were made thanks to our efforts
  • Nearly 30.000 pregnant women had regular pregnancy consultations and were tested for HIV

Read more about Cordaid’s RBF approach

Read more about Cordaid’s projects in the Central African Republic

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