In order to establish health systems that can be trusted, institutions are needed to improve and incentivize healthcare quality provided by healthcare providers.
In Tanzania for instance, the government is working hard in collaboration with health stakeholders to ensure health facilities provide quality services to the patients.
Through the Momcare project, more than 12 health facilities in Babati District have drastically improved quality access and delivery of maternal and child health services after being supported with some medical equipment hence improved its capacity of stocking medicine and medical supplies needed to meet the demand of patients
MomCare “Safari Salama ya Mama Mjamzito” is a digital enabled pregnancy journey support project, implemented by PharmAccess International-Tanzania office from 2019 in Babati District Council, Manyara region and Siha district in Kilimanjaro region.
The project uses digital technology to track quality reproductive health services to mothers from early months of pregnancy are accessed and delivered to reduce maternal and perinatal related mortalities.
MomCare Project Manager Johnson Yokoyana says the project as a digital quality based financing system has progressively helped facilities improve the quality of health services offered promising for better maternal outcomes.
He says before health facilities are recruited in the project, assessment is conducted based on different pre-set eligibility criteria including quality improvement, infrastructural and population of pregnant women attending Antenatal and other maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH.
With safecare standards, healthcare providers gain insight in identifying gaps and challenges then can and plan stepwise approaches towards higher quality.
Furthermore, it motivates them to engage in improvement activities, make performance data available to facility and health care managers on a real time basis and enable benchmarking achievements across a network of facilities.
In his views, Dr.Yokoyana says initially the MNCH services were financed using a supply side financing model through basket funds rather than utilisation of services per period of time in a given facility.
Momcare financing model advocating demand side financing that triggers proper utilisation of services and timely financing and delivery of services.
“In improving quality through safecare, selected facilities receive some support in upgrading their quality, ensuring the availability of drugs, equipment, refurbishment and also training to staff,” he says.
For her part, Emanuela Joseph (22), a resident of Airport in Arusha region travels about 172 kilometres to Magugu health centre in Babati Rural, Manyara region in every arranged visit.
Joseph admits that the health services offered at Magugu health centre had improved compared to the previous years.
Although she lived very far from the healthcare centre, Joseph chose the centre because the staff are caring and more attentive to patients coming at the centre.
Joseph joins the majority of women benefitting from the quality reproductive health services through the Momcare project implemented by the PharmaAccess-International-Tanzania in collaboration with the government.
Medical Officer in Charge at Magugu Health Centre Dr Costa Ndunguru notes that the project has contributed to an increase in medicines and medical supplies.
He says as a result all the facilities conduct all necessary healthcares services being referrals or normal occurring at the facility.
“Our facilities are now able to conduct necessary laboratory investigations to support diagnosis of problems contrary to how it was before where the facility used to refer some of the cases unnecessarily” he says.
Moreover, the project has enabled the facility to procure oxygen concentrators, delivery sets and caesarean sets to improve healthcare services all the time.
“Our staff are motivated through incentives and bonuses especially those in charge of maternal care and therefore attracted more women to attend clinics, to seek quality services” he said.
Elaborating more, Dr Ndunguru says that his facility serves clients from six wards including Magugu, Matufa, Salama and Mapeya and those referred from 10 dispensaries.
He admits that free services to mothers and children contributed a lot to an increase in the number of patients attending the centre per day.
According to him, the facility management was looking further to ensure medicine and medical supplies are available in the facilities.
“Indeed, the project is the real life saving aimed at improving reproductive health by improving the quality of health services offered by the health facilities,” said Dr Madange Hosea, the Babati District Medical Officer (DMO) when interviewed recently in his office
He says through safecare standards, the programme helped the healthcare providers to know the actual demand of health facilities in order to deliver good services.
Dr Hosea adds that “the project has also built the capacity of our health centres by motivating staff as they receive incentives depending on the number of customers attended per day, ”.
According to him, the programme also further seeks to train more staff to use the digital system to fast-track health services deliverances.
The project as the financing based project has successfully increased the quality of healthcare services in all health centres registered in the programme.