Vouchers often get a bad rep: they probably make you think of junk mail, hawkers on street corners, and the odd 25%-off haircut. To be honest, vouchers also have a fairly low profile in global health. Because health vouchers have mostly been used to stimulate demand for priority health services among underserved groups, they have been labelled as a narrow policy tool, a distraction from the ambitious goal of Universal Health Coverage.

A health voucher gives its recipient the right to access a clearly defined health service (or health services package) at quality-assured health facilities for free. That same voucher then enables the health provider to claim payment for the services they provided to the voucher-holding client. Vouchers are the only health financing tool that subsidises demand while also channelling investment to the supply side. 2-for-1! Now there‟s vouchers for you!

Far from being a distraction from Universal Health Coverage (UHC), this policy brief shows that vouchers further the core principles of UHC, while also having the ability to solve common problems experienced by even the most well-established UHC systems.

Resource Information

Author/s: David Griffith, Laura Sochas, Corinne Grainger, Anna Gorter, Luke Boddam-Whetham
Date of Publication: July 2013

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