Representatives from the World Bank recently visited Saint Lucia on a mission aimed at providing guidance to fast-track the readiness of the launch of the Performance-based financing (PBF) pilot programme.
The mission focused on the training of key stakeholders on change management and use of funds, providing technical support on the communications component for the PBF launch, providing technical guidance on the legal and operational aspects of the PBF and providing guidance on global practices on PBF implementation from other countries.
The mission was led by Senior Health Economist of the World Bank Edit Velenyi. She emphasized in a discussion the need to ensure successful implementation of PBF as it is the first step towards Universal Health Coverage in Saint Lucia.
“One main thing that we expect the government team, specifically the PBF implementation unit have a set of documents to train the trainees, stakeholders so the training package should be developed, and this is an ongoing discussion because the training packages and initial set of trainings but you continue to need to engage all of the providers overtime. Secondly, all of the activities need to be in framed and enshrined in legal documents. So, we need to make sure we have the right legal documents, contracts setup so that let providers and also the regions and the facilities can be engaged with the Ministry of Health,” Velenyi said.
Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Jenny Daniel re-emphasized the government’s commitment to ensure the Performance-based Financing PBF and Universal Health Coverage UHC major priorities.
“We recognize the financial hardships faced by many individuals at many different levels in terms of having to pay-out-of-pocket for their health care in Saint Lucia. At this point in time, therefore it is extremely important that we find alternative methods of strengthening our health care sector to ensure that all persons throughout the population can have equal access to quality health care. So, at this time, given that we are coming to the end of the pandemic. It is especially important that we provide that platform, that is Universal Health Coverage and of course the first phase of it being the Performance Based Financing to allow for that equity and accessibility of quality health care that will allow our population to be strengthened against any future threat of pandemics or epidemics in Saint Lucia,” Daniel said.
Performance-based financing PBF Coordinator Nahum Jn Baptiste welcomed the support from the World Bank in assisting them to ensure progress is made for the success implementation of PBF.
“Because of some of the services we will be offering, we would expect a surge of patients and so they are helping us get ready. We will be getting experiences from other countries and it is very important according to the bank and us and hopefully by the end of this mission, we will be ready to accept patients and to meet the expectations of persons but also our own expectations as the program. It is very important for us to be ready for the surge of persons that we are going to expect to come. We also looking forward to the changes and some of the positive changes that we are going to bring to make sure that we get buy-in from the facility and just to make sure we have a seamless implementation,” Jn Baptiste said.
The meetings were held with staff from the Project Implementation Unit within the Ministry of Health and other health officials and representatives.
The performance-based financing pilot programme is focused on providing screening and treatment services for diabetes and hypertension at primary health care facilities.
It is expected to be implemented in a phased approach and will cover eight primary health care facilities in the first instance.
Performance-based financing is considered an effective step towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Saint Lucia.