Today, June 30, 2015 is an important date: Healthcare Cordaid has officially transferred the PBF program (Performance Based Financing) to the Regional Fund for the Promotion of Health – East Cameroon (FRPS East). A very symbolic date as it marks the end of a collaboration of more than 13 years during which Cordaid has worked hand in hand with the Ministry of Health in the implementation of an effective and sustainable health system.
The story that binds Cordaid in Cameroon began there twenty years when Cordaid participates in the health program of the Ecclesiastical Province of Bertoua with four dioceses including the Diocese of Batouri. In 2006, Cordaid introduced the PBF approach which aims to engage communities and beneficiaries in the process of improvement and sustainability of the health system by, among others, forming a direct link between funding and results. Six years later, in 2012, this approach was extended to the entire region of eastern Cameroon. A new deal since the participation of all stakeholders in the health system becomes essential (providers, regulator and local associations representing the voice of the community) and the autonomy in the health facilities increases.
‘This transfer of responsibility gives a special meaning to the terms ‘ resilience and sustainability’, key values within Cordaid’
Very proud of the results
Moussoume Ekouanguè, Manager of the Performance Purchasing Agency (PAA) whose mission is the financing of health facilities, health insurance and associations testifies: “After so many years of efforts by all local partners, we can be very proud of the results we have today.” This transfer of responsibility gives a special meaning to the terms ‘ resilience and sustainability’, key values within Cordaid. Since 2006, Moussoume has seen the progress but also the resistance that has brought the PBF approach. Indeed, in 2001, Cordaid was the first organization to introduce the PBF in the health sector in Sub-Saharan Africa and today more than 20 countries have followed this path: “Many have struggled to accept the changes because it is well known that habits are sometimes hard to change. It was necessary to follow the good practices that have already proven themselves elsewhere. It was a big challenge for many. The support of local stakeholders – be they religious, institutional – but also external representatives such as Cordaid was very important.” Remco van der Veen, Health Director at Cordaid adds: “It is a tough, adventurous and complex process”.
A reliable and ordered system
Today, Moussoume emphasized with pleasure the major changes induced by the PBF program: better definition of roles and responsibilities, a clear input in the health system by the community itself, an obvious interconnection and collaboration between institutional decision makers and local actors, a greater freedom in the governance of health centers and finally the establishment of a reliable national health information system. “So many indicators that show the project’s success,” explains Moussoume. “Now the biggest challenge is yet to come: now that the FRPS East is in place, we have to maintain its quality, and continue improving health services to reach full maturity “. Yet, Cordaid will not disappear from the Cameroon overview as a new form of cooperation is being considered (Technical and Financial Partnership).
‘This transfer is also a proof of our success: a quality healthcare system accessible to all’
Obviously, so many years of collaboration does not disappear without a trace, “Of course, we forged emotional bonds with members of Cordaid but we keep in mind that this transfer is also a proof of our success: a quality healthcare system accessible to all.”