After more than a year of hard work, and months of testing and improvement, we are very pleased to officially release the new ORBF tool to help manage RBF and strategic purchasing on top of DHIS2 platforms.
Since 2012, Bluesquare has been developing and deploying OpenRBF in many countries. OpenRBF was a separate and stand alone software platform. In 2016, we decided to re-build the software, and split it into several modules, while maintaining our focus on technology that would enhance the health financing capability of DHIS2. This led to the development of three software modules that are plugged into DHIS2: DataCollect (an ODK to DHIS2 offline mobile android app), DataViz (a data visualisation interface used for RBF portals), and ORBF, a health financing rule engine.
Over the coming months we will share more on these modules. For today we will focus on ORBF and its great capabilities.
Another year for Bluesquare – The same vision, different ways
At Bluesquare, what drives us is the desire to make the world a better place. Our goal is to ensure that every citizen on this planet has access to a minimum package of health services. Unfortunately, we are not there yet. The community surrounding the Tipo health center in the DRC has benefited from barely any substantial Global Health investment over the last years. So, helping Global Health players allocate their resources in a smarter way, so that it goes where it matters most, is where we can continue to make a difference. How will we get there? We believe that technology and data can influence this allocation in two ways : increase efficiency of existing investments through better data insights and financial disintermediation, and make Global Health a more attractive investment for countries and citizens looking to invest in this space.
But how do we translate this vision into operational priorities? Here is our focus for 2018.
Health RBF programs typically evaluate patient satisfaction quarterly to verify the information declared by health centers about the services offered. Every quarter, a sampling of patients who visit the health facility are interviewed usually by Community-Based Organizations (CBO). Once data has been collected, a “community satisfaction score” is calculated for each provider, which impacts the payment/bonus allocated to that provider. In most countries, this process is paper-based.
In early 2016, Benin’s Ministry of Health scaled up its Results-Based Financing (RBF) system. This move has ensured that all health care providers (all public, most faith-based, some private) are surveyed quarterly to externally assess service availability and quality of care. To aid Benin’s government, Bluesquare has been providing strategic support to their RBF data system.
A large number of countries in which we work have shifted their HMIS (health management information system) onto DHIS2 — a popular open source software tool developed by the University of Oslo. Often, the data platform also becomes the country’s de-facto health system data warehouse.
Over the last decades, the health system in Zimbabwe has been confronted with a double crisis: an economic collapse and the AIDS pandemic. This destabilized the health system at its core. And overall life expectancy dropped from 61 years old in the 1990s to 48 years old in 2005, before climbing back up to 58 years old in 2012.
Most of the time, projects are developed without taking the community’s voices and their everyday realities into account. Moreover, many surveys are addressed to communities without seeking their feedback or adjusting programs to meet the local needs. Putting communities in the driver’s seat implies an understanding of their needs and giving them opportunities to express themselves. To fill this gap, more and more donors, NGO’s, and governments are becoming willing to integrate social accountability as an essential component of future public systems.