An OpenRBF portal for the Community PBF in Makamba, Burundi: verified data, transparent management and budget monitoring !

“The OpenRBF portal has allowed for greater transparency in finance management, cost reduction of organizational functioning, and is a considerable time saver for our verifiers”. Vincent Kamenyero, Data and Portal Manager at Cordaid Burundi

Since 2011, Cordaid has initiated a Performance Based Financing (PFB) project in the field of community health in Burundi, in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health and Fight against AIDS (MSPLS). A total of 27 Groupings of Community Health Workers (GASC) were contracted to provide medical and awareness services to promote behavior change. Twenty- seven Local Associations (ASLO) were also contracted to conduct community surveys on the quality of GASC’s services.

Cordaid contracted BlueSquare to implement OpenRBF, a health financing management tool that promotes transparency, accountability to donors and facilitates data verification and validation. BlueSquare developed and implemented OpenRBF in a dozen of countries.

The implementation of the OpenRBF portal was a boon for both Cordaid and its partners. According to Vincent Kamenyero, Data and Portal Manager at Cordaid Burundi, OpenRBF achieved the objectives it set for the good management of the pilot, as well as enabled thorough analysis of its results.

The OpenRBF portal allows users to record data collected by all health service providers and makes them available online and in real-time. Dashboards on the portal’s private interface allow users with administrative rights to see the progress of each community health worker, while the public interface displays the funding allocated to each provider. Once the data is recorded, it is stored in a database viewable by all authorized persons; This allows for easier and faster data validation sessions.

After verification and validation, performance indicators and subsidies granted to each GASC and ASLO are posted on the public interface. Authorised private actors can access details of the cost indicators.

Vincent Kamenyero has stated that OpenRBF saved time and improved accountability: as soon as the data is entered and stored, the programme generates calculations of subsidies and bills automatically. Data is then accessible in real time in the private interface, which enables all actors at their level to monitor the progress of activities.

In 2010, Burundi’s national PBF program for health started using OpenRBF to manage financing. Since then, OpenRBF has changed significantly in its second and third versions. The latest version from 2014 offers new data visualization, multi-donor funding management, an alert system to allow auditors to update the data, and many more functionalities.

Holding great promise, the new version features an OpenRBF interoperability option that helps resume talks on interrelating data collected under the Community PBF, and those collected by the national PBF health program. Indeed, both PBF approaches are complementary: the clinical approach is based primarily on improving the offer of quality of healthcare delivery, while the Community approach is directed towards stimulating demand and behavior change. Furthermore, a GASC intervenes in an area that corresponds to a related health center catchment or to a reference hospital.

GASC performance indicators mostly mirror health facilities’ indicators. They include some indicators related to at-home treatment of certain diseases and raising awareness on responsible health conduct of communities. Any variation in GASC’s performance should then necessarily be followed by performance variation of the reference health facility.

There is no doubt that the implementation of interoperability between the two information systems and the correlation of collected and validated data will enable better analysis and more comprehensive reading of the performance of each PBF approach. We will see to what extent certain Community PBF indicators perform by comparing their results with those of the national clinical PBF. With OpenRBF, we are already prepared for this challenge and look forward to your participation and sharing the results with you.

By Alice Irakoze, Project Manager at BlueSquare