This case study examines the policy process behind the introduction of performance-based financing program in Cameroon. The article was published in Globalization and Health Journal on August 1st, 2017, and was written by Isidore Sieleunou, Anne-Marie Turcotte-Tremblay, Jean-Claude Taptué Fotso, Denise Magne Tamga, Habakkuk Azinyui Yumo, Estelle Kouokam and Valery Ridde.
Background: More than 30 countries in sub-Saharan Africa have introduced performance-based financing (PBF) in their healthcare systems. Yet, there has been little research on the process by which PBF was put on the national policy agenda in Africa. This study examines the policy process behind the introduction of PBF program in Cameroon.
Methods: The research is an explanatory case study using the Kingdon multiple streams framework. We conducted a document review and 25 interviews with various types of actors involved in the policy process. We conducted thematic analysis using a hybrid deductive-inductive approach for data analysis.
Results: By 2004, several reports and events had provided evidence on the state of the poor health outcomes and health financing in the country, thereby raising awareness of the situation. As a result, decision-makers identified the lack of a suitable health financing policy as an important issue that needed to be addressed. The change in the political discourse toward more accountability made room to test new mechanisms. A group of policy entrepreneurs from the World Bank, through numerous forms of influence (financial, ideational, network and knowledge-based) and building on several ongoing reforms, collaborated with senior government officials to place the PBF program on the agenda. The policy changes occurred as the result of two open policy windows (i.e. national and international), and in both instances, policy entrepreneurs were able to couple the policy streams to effect change.
Conclusion: The policy agenda of PBF in Cameroon underlined the importance of a perceived crisis in the policy reform process and the advantage of building a team to carry forward the policy process. It also highlighted the role of other sources of information alongside scientific evidence (eg.: workshop and study tour), as well as the role of previous policies and experiences, in shaping or influencing respectively the way issues are framed and reformers’ actions and choices.
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