As part of our mandate to gather and disseminate evidence and knowledge from global RBF experiences, RBF Health regularly organizes events, including seminars and capacity building workshops.
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The Role of Vouchers in Serving Disadvantaged Populations and Improving Quality of Care

The session will highlight findings from studies on voucher programs in different countries and its cross-case analysis. It will touch on three issues: scaling voucher programs (what works and what does not), integrating voucher programs with national health systems and goals (policy relevance to non-voucher programs and national health strategies), and aiding Universal Health Coverage (UHC), FP 2020, and the campaign to end preventable maternal mortality by 2030.

Reproductive Health Vouchers: An Introduction to the Concept on Vimeo.


Reproductive health voucher schemes continue to expand in scale and scope with more than 30 programs operating in low- and middle-income countries. Research conducted by the Population Council has evaluated the role of vouchers in increasing service uptake, improving equity, addressing dimensions of healthcare quality, and reducing out-of-pocket spending for reproductive health services in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Over the past five years, this research has helped to inform policy reforms, health sector strategy, and on-the-ground implementation recommendations.

Output-Based Aid (OBA) is one approach to progressively expand UHC and contribute toward voluntary contraceptive uptake while targeting resources to individuals most at risk of maternal mortality and unintended pregnancies. OBA voucher programs use demand-side subsidies to purchase services from providers who are reimbursed after client visits. Aligned with related interventions in the first 1000 days of life, this OBA focus on reproductive health can help the most disadvantaged newborns experience the best available start on life. Given the reproductive health focus, purchasing services for the bottom 40 percent in some countries may be a feasible aspiration for development partners and national governments.

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Meeting Number: 739 373 507 
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Timothy Abuya, Senior Analyst, Population Council, Kenya

Timothy Abuya is currently involved in a range of studies broadly focused on improving access and addressing health systems challenges in the delivery of health care. He holds a PhD in public health from the Open University in the UK and the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, with a focus in Health Systems Research and Policy Analysis.

Ben Bellows, Associate, Population Council, Kenya

Ben Bellows currently manages multiple studies of healthcare finance initiatives in East and southern Africa and South and Southeast Asia. He has also managed a World Bank-funded technical assessment of a performance-based financing initiative in Samburu County, Kenya. Ben holds a PhD in epidemiology from the University of California at Berkeley.


Aaka Pande, Health Economist, World Bank

Aaka Pande specializes in health nutrition and population issues in the Middle East and North Africa. She is leading an evaluation of a maternal health voucher program in Yemen; and is the co-author of the World Bank MENA health sector strategy (2013-2018). Aaka holds a PhD in Evaluative Sciences and Statistics for Health Policy from Harvard University.


Petra Vergeer, Senior Health Specialist, World Bank

Petra Vergeer has worked on building the capacity and knowledge of Bank teams and providing technical support to RBF pilot countries on design and implementation of RBF mechanisms since 2009. Petra has been working in public health and health system strengthening programs in developing countries since 1994.


Vouchers: Recommended Resources
The Role of Vouchers in Serving Disadvantaged Populations: A Multi-Country Comparison
RH Vouchers and Health Systems
A Taxonomy and Results from a Comprehensive Review of 28 Maternal Health Voucher Programs
Evidence Review: Results-Based Financing of Maternal and Newborn Health Care in Low- and Lower-Middle-Income Countries
Reproductive Health Voucher Program and Facility Based Delivery in Informal Settlements in Nairobi: A Longitudinal Analysis