Impact of implementing performance-based financing on childhood malnutrition in Rwanda

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Background: Malnutrition remains a serious concern in Rwanda, particularly among children under-5 years. Performance-based financing (PBF), an innovative health systems financing strategy, has been implemented at the national level since 2008. This study aimed to assess the impact of PBF and other factors associated with the prevalence of three classifications of malnutrition (stunting, wasting and underweight) in children under-5 years in Rwanda. Methods: The study is a cross-sectional study comprising of 713 children under five years old from 557 households, whose anthropometric measurements (height, weight and age) had been obtained as part of the 2008 Rwanda General Health and HIV household survey. Z-scores for height-for-age, weight-for-age, weight-for-height, and body mass index-for-age were analyzed according to the World Health Organization 2006 Child Growth Standards. Random intercept logistic regression models were used to regress each anthropometric measure (WAZ, HAZ and WHZ) against child, maternal and household characteristics. Results: Child participants ranged in age from 0 to 60 months, 20.2% of children were under 12 months and 5.1% were HIV positive. The prevalence of wasting was 8.8%; of stunting was 58.4%; and of underweight status was 20.7%. Maternal emotional and social wellbeing was protective of wasting in children under-5 years of age. Living in districts implementing PBF was protective of wasting (Adjusted Odds Ratio: 0.43; 95% confidence interval: 0.19-0.97). Living in a district with PBF was not found to be associated with either stunting or underweight status among children under-5. Conclusions: PBF may have a protective association with particular forms of malnutrition among children under-5 years in Rwanda. These findings warrant further investigation in relation to the impact of implementing innovative financing schemes on health outcomes.




Binagwaho, A., Condo, J., Wagner, C., Ngabo, F., Karema, C., Kanters, S., … De Dieu Bizimana, J. (2014). Impact of implementing performance-based financing on childhood malnutrition in Rwanda. BMC Public Health, 14(1).

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