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Voucher programme for safe motherhood and family planning in Yemen

Increasing the use of quality maternal and reproductive health services through a voucher system


We led an innovative project to increase the use of quality maternal health services and family planning through a voucher system. This allowed women from poor, rural areas to access medical services at little cost. Working with the Ministry of Public Health and Population and local NGO Yamaan, we designed a voucher scheme which we implemented across 16 districts in Yemen.

The project increased the uptake of safe motherhood services, with a particular focus on skilled birth attendance. The vouchers also enabled women to access long-acting methods of family planning at private and public sector health facilities. Vouchers were either sold at a nominal price (in the case of maternal health services) or distributed to women for free (for family planning services). Services were provided through health facilities that met agreed minimum standards of quality in the provision of services offered under the voucher programme.

The vouchers enabled Yemeni women and their families from low-income households to access a package of reproductive health services (covering pre- and postnatal care, safe delivery, transport for delivery and family planning) free at the point of delivery. Once they had received a service, the provider then submitted the voucher to a claims processing agency, and was reimbursed at a contracted price.

By allowing women to access services at little or no cost, the project removed the major financial barriers that often prevented them from accessing health care. It also ensured a minimum standard of quality and provided funds for service providers that could be reinvested in staff incentives and further quality improvement.

The voucher scheme made a significant contribution to improving the health and social welfare of the women reached.

Results as of 2016


babies were delivered safely by a trained health care worker.


caesarean sections were performed for women and  more women received family planning counselling, short-term methods and/or long-acting methods, in the areas where our vouchers were distributed.


antenatal visits were accessed by women using our vouchers; representing a 67% increase.

Focus areas
Maternal and Newborn Health Reproductive health and Family Planning
Health Financing Quality Improvement