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BRIEF

Incentives that Improve Prenatal Care in Argentina

November 16, 2015


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The policy note "Can Performance Payments Improve Newborn Health?" examines whether it is possible to make health centers change their way of operating. And if this new behavior is maintained even after incentives are removed.

Prenatal care at the right time can enhance the likelihood of a healthy birth.

This is the idea behind the Plan Nacer - now called Plan Sumar.

Under a results-based financing scheme, the provinces receive funds as they reach different health goals. Provinces give the resources to health centers for infrastructure improvements, equipment, human resources and training which facilitates effective service delivery.

Although performance payments improve the quality and the time health care is received, incentives are too expensive to maintain in the long term.

The policy note Can Performance Payments Improve Newborn Health? examines whether it is possible to make health centers change their way of operating. And if this new behavior is maintained even after incentives are removed.

This work analyzed if the financial incentives for primary care centers increase early capture of pregnant women for their first prenatal visit - during the first trimester of pregnancy.

It also analyzed whether after temporary increases in the financial incentives were removed, health centers maintained the level reached before.

The assessment -the first of its kind to examine the effects of short-term incentives on performance in the long run - found that increasing work incentives and improvements in the early detection of pregnancy were maintained even after financial incentives were returned to its initial value.

More information: Plan Nacer: Delivering Results for Mothers and Their Children | Plan Nacer Improves Birth Outcomes and Decreases Neonatal Mortality among Beneficiaries