Promoting Reproductive Health Using eVouchers


Marie Stopes International (MSI) is an international organization that provides sexual and reproductive health services, including a full range of contraceptive methods and access to safe abortion services (where legal). It is committed to offering its services to the most under-served communities, and uses modern business methods to achieve the social goal of preventing unintended pregnancies and unplanned births in 40 countries worldwide.

To achieve their objective, MSI Ethiopia designed a voucher system, intended to increase the awareness of and use of the services they offered. Realizing that to achieve the scale they were aiming for a traditional, paper based system would not be feasible, MSI Ethiopia selected Apposit to help design and implement an electronic voucher system.

Apposit implemented this innovative voucher program using its Connect platform. Community Health Workers (CHW) use smart phones to collect demographic information and issue electronic vouchers to beneficiaries through door to door visits. The vouchers, which are communicated to the beneficiaries through SMS if they have a mobile phone, are redeemable at any MSI or franchise clinic where clinic staff use SMS to validate the vouchers and record the services redeemed by the clients. Using transaction data generated through SMS, the system manages financial records of settlements due to the service providers as well as incentives paid to CHWs.

The system doesn't stop there! In addition to promoting the use of contraceptive methods, the voucher system is used to follow up on patients that have received care. By knowing what service was received and on what date, the system is able to extend follow up services through CHW to those young women who have received treatment. The system alerts CHWs of services received by people they have referred and alerts them at scheduled intervals to follow up with those patients. Using the same smart phone they issued the voucher with, they complete simple follow up questions and submit their results electronically to ensure proper follow up of patients.

The voucher system has also been extended to integrate with other services provided by MSIE, such as a call center to allow vouchers to be generated and communicated through other channels. Once generated, the voucher is redeemed and recorded through the same process mentioned above.

Since this program started a couple of years ago, over 19,000 vouchers have been issued. There are currently close to 100 CHW and over 30 clinics participating in the program. MSIE has been able to meet its objectives of reaching marginalized populations through a system that is scalable, efficient, reduces fraud and provides real time insight into the performance of the program.

The success of the program was covered by Voice Of America. Read about it here.