On 20-21 April 2016 USAID’s Translating Research into Action (TRAction) Project and the Maternal Health Task Force (MHTF) at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health hosted a technical consultation on the impact of performance-based incentive programs on the quality of maternal and newborn care. A total of 34 participants, including researchers, programmers, policymakers, and donors gathered in Boston to review the state of the evidence and a handful of country experiences with PBI programs in order to make strategic recommendations moving forward.

Increasingly, low- and middle-income countries, with support from their development partners, are investing in PBI schemes to improve health facility performance, including quality of care. With the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), increasing utilization of facility-based care is a key strategy for improving maternal and newborn health outcomes and preventing death and disability. PBI is one approach being used to improve the availability and quality of facility-based care, which is in turn expected to increase service uptake. PBI also features prominently in the recently launched Global Financing Facility, an important financing platform in support of the SDGs and the UN’s Every Woman, Every Child strategy.

While the popularity of various kinds of performance- or results-based financing schemes increases, there is much that remains unknown. As PBI programs and other strategies to increase utilization of facility-based care move forward, there is an ethical imperative to understand the quality of care being accessed by women and children in these facilities, and a programmatic imperative to understand whether the PBI investments in maternal and newborn health are resulting in improved quality of care.

Meeting Report

View a PDF of the meeting report.