Since 1999, performance-based financing or pay-for-performance (P4P) methods have been piloted in the Cambodian public health sector, first as one part of external contracting approaches with international nongovernment organizations and from 2009 as a part of internal contracting arrangements between units within the Ministry of Health under a wider public sector administrative reform. This study analyses these reforms and compares outcomes in 3 health districts. The study analysed routine quantitative data for primary care service delivery by using the interrupted time series method. Qualitative data were collected from key informant interviews. Both the level and the trend line of key service delivery indicators during earlier contracting/P4P models were at least maintained and in most cases increased with the move to internal contracting. The results of the interrupted time series analysis were mixed, mainly due to contextual issues. Qualitative results indicated an increased sense of local ownership and financial sustainability. Despite the gains, the management of personnel and the implementation and the integrity of contract monitoring were found to be compromised in this case. To be fully effective, contracting and P4P approaches must be accompanied by changes in the structure and culture of government administration.
Keywords: Cambodia; financial incentives; health reform; pay-for-performance; performance-based financing.
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