RBF is contributing to better health care for women and children, now covering 387 facilities in Zimbabwe – mainly rural clinics – in 18 health districts. The program provides subsidies to health clinics and district hospitals based on their performance in delivering health services. Community health committees are key to the program’s success.

See our video from Chiparawe, Zimbabwe – Teclar Gohori had heard plenty of horror stories about women dying of post-partum bleeding while giving birth at home. But when she became pregnant with her first child, she discovered that a hospital birth was simply out of reach. 

In addition to a US$10 registration fee, the local clinic required that she bring her own sanitary pads, bed sheets, a bucket of water, a razor to cut the baby’s umbilical cord, gloves for the nurses, candles for lighting, and newborn clothes. All those would add up to $20. If she was transferred to a higher-level hospital in case of an emergency, she would have to pay at least $70 more. A blood transfusion, if needed, would cost her $120 per unit.

Safer Births, Better Care

For patients like Gohori, RBF means safer births, healthier children – and no more user fees. For doctors, nurses and community health center committees, RBF means greater opportunity for local-level planning, as they are free to decide on how to use the subsidy. Most facilities have used the funding to renovate outdated buildings, such as repainting them, repairing water leaks and buying new windows, roofs, toilets, sewer water tanks, and even solar panels and generators. Even though bonuses mainly have been spent on improving their work environment, nurses say they are more motivated to provide better services.

Resource Information

Author/s: Jane Zhang, Peter Von Elling
Countries: Zimbabwe
Date of Publication: November 2012

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