Over 1 million pregnant people in Zimbabwe benefit from RBF


HARARE (New Ziana) – More than 1 million poor pregnant Zimbabwean women delivered their babies for free at supported health facilities under the Results Based Financing (RBF) model, an official has said.

More than 1 million poor pregnant Zimbabwean women delivered their babies for free at supported health facilities under the Results Based Financing (RBF) mode
UNICEFZimbabwe/2021/Kudzai Tinago

World Bank Zimbabwe county manager Eneida Fernandes said this while officially handing over the project to the government on Wednesday.

For 13 years, the RBF, a component of the Health Sector Development Support Project (HSDSP), played a pivotal role in accelerating access to quality maternal and child health services supported by an investment of US$78 million from the World Bank and other partners, with co-financing from the Zimbabwe government.

Cordaid, an emergency relief organisation, providing free maternal,

newborn and child health services for the poor implemented the RBF.

“Over 1 million women received prenatal care services in RBF-supported facilities (1.39 million women received 4 or more prenatal care visits) and more than 1.1 million women delivered at the supported facilities.

Approximately 2 267 228 children received Vitamin A supplementation and

over 958 845 children completed the primary course of immunization, reflecting our collective commitment to safeguarding the health of future generations,” said Fernandes.

She said the tangible improvements in service quality, with facilities in RBF supported districts achieving average quality scores between 80 percent and 85 percent from the previous scores of below 70 percent highlighted the success of the program.

“The Impact Evaluation of the results-based financing approach in the 18 districts demonstrated effectiveness in improving coverage and quality of key maternal and child health indicators.

For example, districts implementing RBF were observed to have increased the percentage of women delivering in clinics and hospitals, where it is safer, by 13 percent more than non-implementing districts,” she said.

Fernandes acknowledged the Zimbabwe government for its efforts in institutionalizing the project.

“Their unwavering commitment, exemplified by the direct financial

support to rural districts and the scaling up of initiatives, underscores their dedication to ensuring the sustainability of the initiatives.

“Today is not about closing a project but recognizing Government-led efforts towards sustainable health system reforms. While we celebrate our successes, we must also acknowledge the challenges that remain and those that lie ahead. Health workers’ attrition, underfunding in the sector and the ongoing cholera outbreak are posing unprecedented challenges to our health systems and to reverse the gains made,” she said.

Officially receiving the project, Health and Child Care Minister Dr Douglas Mombeshora said the government is grateful for the support of funding partners including the World Bank towards the success of the health sector development support project.

“Through RBF, notable gains have been realised in the health sector in Zimbabwe through the RBF programme.

These include increased coverage, utilisation and quality of maternal and newborn health service. Access to essential medicines and supplies has increased, ensuring that our citizens receive the treatments they need.

“Furthermore, the project has enhanced the capacity of our health workforce through training and mentorship programmes resulting in improved clinical skills and increased staff motivation,” he said.

To sustain the project, the government has institutionalised RBF across 60 rural districts using funds from the Treasury.

“The close-out of the health sector development support project does not

mark the end of our efforts but rather the beginning of a new chapter.

There is need to keep the momentum to ensure Zimbabwe remains on course to meet the Sustainable Development Goals targets by 2023,” said Dr Mombeshora.

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