Great idea…but will it save lives?

On July 25, 2011, in Uncategorized, by Karen Grepin

I am on my way down to DC to attend the Saving Lives at Birth Development Expo and Exchange. I am part of a research team that is a finalist for one of the integrated grants. Our partner, Changamka, is an impressive organization that has developed microsaving products to enable people to save money for health services to use when they need it. In addition, they are currently developing a mobile phone enabled version of their product specifically for pregnant women to help pay for maternity services, including antenatal, delivery, and postnatal care: mhealth meets microfinance!

You can find out more about Changamka by watching this moving video, which was produced by Al Jezeera:

Seems like a great idea, right? I think so, but of course, we won’t actually know until the program is properly evaluated. There have been many great and noble attempts to reduce financial barriers to maternity services. In fact, introducing voucher programs or user fee exemptions have become extremely popular across sub-Saharan African countries to expand access to maternal and child health programs.

Despite all of the fan fare that these programs have received (including this piece in the NYTimes last week chronicling the experience of Sierra Leone) it is not clear if we really know if these programs really work and under which conditions. Most of the programs have not been evaluated. Even if we do believe that they are effective, given that they are hugely expensive programs, it would also be good to know if they generate enough impact to justify the resources expended on them. These are all things that we believe we will be able to better understand with our proposed project.

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6 Responses to “Great idea…but will it save lives?”

  1. Karen Grepin says:

    Great idea…but will it save lives? (blog post) #globalhealth

  2. Great idea…but will it save lives? (blog post) #globalhealth

  3. RT @KarenGrepin Great blog post and great use of microsaving! Welcome to DC, enjoy a good meal while you're here!

  4. MEDLIFE says:

    MT @KarenGrepin Great idea…but will it save lives? Interesting idea for Saving Lives at Birth Dev. Expo #globalhealth

  5. Tom Stocker says:

    Just a quick question – do you know of any micro-insurance schemes that are reliable that cater for health needs? I think people would be really willing to contribute to health insurance fees of people in poverty, organisations catering for non-health needs might also oblige if it had enough checks and balances and value-for-money.

    If there isn’t this kind of thing, what are the barriers?

  6. Robbo says:

    mobile phone product specifically for pregnant women to help pay for maternity services #hcsmanz

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