Performance-Based Incentives for Child Health: Taking Stock of Current Programs and Future Potentials

PBI and CHMirja Sjoblom, Alix Beith, and Rena Eichler

Available evidence suggests that programs that address incentives can help to increase the use of essential preventive services, increase the coverage rates of high-impact interventions, and improve quality of care. The first generation of PBI programs focused on the “low-hanging fruit” of child health interventions (in addition to other interventions related to maternal health and infectious disease), namely time-limited actions such as payment for immunizations or for well-baby visits.

More can be done to incentivize the pregnancy-delivery-postnatal care-early childhood continuum of care and to improve the quality of services. Incentive programs can help to strengthen the focus on the quality of interventions to address newborn health, and to tackle other longer term – and more challenging – childhood concerns, such as nutrition and prevention and appropriate case management of the three main child killers: pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria.

This report is one in a three-part series that explores cross-cutting themes in PBI; other reports examine the experience of PBI for maternal health, and in sub-Saharan Africa. With examples of PBI schemes and ideas for improving PBI approaches, these reports are written for country leaders, donors, and technical assistance providers who are interested in establishing new PBI schemes, or in fine-tuning existing PBI approaches to strengthen their health system and improve health outcomes.