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Sehat Voucher Scheme

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Demand side health financing
The concept of Demand Side Financing (DSF) in health originated in response to developing countries felt need to improve access to and utilization of health services, particularly among the poor. Policymakers in developing countries have come to realize that public health services, interventions and innovations have not yielded the desired health outcomes due to serious issues concerning the efficiency, fairness and quality of the health systems that have been created and maintained through significant tax based financing. In particular, the utilization and uptake of services has been very low among those who would benefit most from these services, that is to say the poor and vulnerable sections of the population. This is especially true for services such as family planning, maternal and child health, immunization etc

DSF was therefore seen as a tool that could improve the utilization of under-used services among the needy and under-serviced populations by placing purchasing power, as well as the choice of provider (where possible), directly in the hands of the recipients. The services considered most relevant in this context were those which were service oriented such as institution based delivery, child immunization and maternal and child services.

The main argument cited in favour of maternal vouchers for safe delivery is that beneficiaries face mainly financial barriers that prevent them from using a this service. The financial barrier argument often extends to geographical distance, so that providing either funds for transport or providing transport itself is also seen as a way to overcome barriers to access.

The most commonly implemented DSF mechanism is one that uses vouchers, defined as “A token that can be used in exchange for a restricted range of goods or services”. GSM Maternal Vouchers tied the receipt of cash by a service providerfor antenatal, natal and postnatal services including family planning. Maternal voucher entitled the recipient to access free antenatal, delivery, emergency referral, and postpartum care services, as well as providing cash stipends for transportation for delivering with a qualified health provider. The aim of the intervention was to encourage the use of under-consumed services of facility based safe delivery.

The video explains the details and results obtained through this intervention in District Charsadda of the province Khyber pakhtunkhwa.