In line with the PBF spirit, we administered a survey to the people who attended the workshop in Clermont-Ferrand to know more about the way they perceived the event. Unfortunately, only 22 respondents took the time to fill in the questionnaire (out of 70+ conference participants). So, the results presented here are perhaps not as representative as we would like them to be, they are rather indications. A first lesson is obviously that, if we want questionnaires to be less biased in the future, we will need a ‘carrot’. An incentive, so to speak.
Anyway, here are some results of the survey. First some info on the profile of the participants.
There were more MD’s (50 %) among the respondents than people with a social sciences background (35 %). Obviously, this could also mean that social scientists try to stay away as far as possible from survey instruments, having seen enough of them during their training. As could be expected, a number of participants also combine backgrounds in medicine, public health and/or social sciences. One in five of the respondents had a PhD.
NGO staff (19 %), scholars (19 %) and people from consulting companies (14 %) accounted for more than half of the respondents. About 30 % of the respondents were government officials (10 %), people from a private institution or office (10 %) and staff from an international agency (10 %) respectively. Students and managers of health facilities are conspicuously absent from our sample. Students probably have better things to do (updating their Facebook account being one of them).
In spite of the icy weather, participants from the South were more represented than people from the North in the survey (61 % versus 39 %). Of course many people reported spending some time in both parts of the world. Most of the respondents work on the national level in a Low-or Middle Income country (56 %) or on a combination of levels (national, regional and/or local) (27 %). Also, most of the respondents defined themselves as a health system expert (43 %), rather than as a health care financing expert (28 %) or, even less so, as a PBF expert (10 %) only.
How did these respondents now assess the workshop ? In terms of the content of the sessions, people were generally satisfied about the amount of time dedicated to field practice and empirical research. Some would have preferred a few more sessions on economic theory and concepts ( 28 %), and, even more people would have liked more room for general debate and exchange of views (36 %).
As to the format of the sessions, both the sessions and presentations were considered just about right in terms of time spent on them (85 %). This was however not the case for the time for debate (in each session), which 65 % of the respondents would have preferred longer. The discussant formula was considered rather useful by more than three quarters of the respondents. The double language system was also well received: less than 10 % of the respondents thought this exercise should not be repeated. A few people argued in favour of a simultaneous translator for events in the future. We bet our Norwegian colleague is one of them.
Most people thought there were enough networking opportunities; a considerable, but smaller number of respondents, thought there were opportunities for boosting collaboration on ongoing projects or papers.
Overall, respondents seemed fairly happy with the event. They did not suggest too many changes, apart from the need for translation, raised by a few people, and the fact that some would have preferred more small group workshops and less plenary sessions. A few people also thought the Friday afternoon session should not have figured in the workshop. Respondents made several suggestions for a topic for the 2010 workshop: contracting of community health agents, financial and non financial incentives based performance, health insurance in Sub-Saharan Africa, PBF in other sectors, PBF and international health organization, PBF and the removal of user fees, PBF and community actors, best strategies to arrive at PBF, the role of countries in the implementation of PBF, exploration of the preconditions of introducing PBF, the extent to which the requirements of donors (e.g. accountability) limit the implementation of PBF… No lack of ideas in other words.
Finally more respondents would like to see the next workshop organized in Africa (rather than in Europe (45 % versus 31 %)); about one quarter of respondents did not have a preference. After experiencing snowy European airports, that has probably changed.