In many parts of the world, the only way to get products to rural communities is to have health workers travel the last mile to people’s doorsteps. These traveling distributors must carry large amounts of cash leaving them at high risk of being robbed.
Mobile Money, a cash payment service provided by MTN Mobile Money, in partnership with banks, provides a way for these distributors to rethink how they transact business with suppliers and clients. Using a mobile phone or the Internet, Mobile Money allows users to transfer money, pay for goods and services, withdraw cash at authorized merchants, and much more.
Mobile Money can benefit health and development programs like The HealthKeepers Network (HKN), which was initiated as a response to the call for greater access to life-saving health products and information for underserved and poor rural populations in Ghana. Through a grant awarded under Advancing Partners & Communities, HKN has successfully integrated Mobile Money into their efforts to bridge the gap between demand and the supply of HIV prevention and family planning (FP) products and services in rural communities. HKN employs community-based distributors (CBDs) to ensure that regular supplies reach several hard to reach communities. To minimize the risk to CBDs of being robbed when they travel from community to community, HKN has adopted Mobile Money to receive and make payments.
After a pilot phase that included eight CBDs in four regions, HKN is now ready to grow the program further. They are currently increasing awareness of the program and integrating it into their training sessions. HKN hopes that the Mobile Money system will help increase efficiency, improve accountability, and minimize risk associated with cash collection. Furthermore, CBDs will be able to order supplies at any time and spread their payments out so as to not have to pay for all supplies upfront.
Successful implementation of this new system will make HKN’s supply and payment system more efficient and effective to guarantee regular supplies to health workers. With increased accessibility and availability of products, HKN can continue to help reduce the unmet need for FP in Ghana.
For more information, visit the Advancing Partners & Communities Project site.