When mobile health and mobile money meet, good things happen

The mHealth Alliance has released a fascinating paper called “Advancing the dialogue on mobile finance and mobile health: country case studies”. The case studies are from Ghana, Kenya, the Philippines and Haiti, and explore the important way mobile financial services make meaningful mobile-health initiatives possible.

mHealthAlliance (c) mPay, reproduced as a quotation with link to source

From the paper:

What makes some markets more attractive to leverage MFS for healthcare than others? At the crux of every initiative is a large need that drives the effort. In the case of Ghana, the private sector is seeking to meet the pent up consumer demand for life insurance, spurred by government education around insurance, by exploring new business models between insurers and mobile operators to bring mobile micro-life insurance to market.

In Haiti, the devastating earthquake spurred new initiative funds to jumpstart MFS systems in the private sector. Mobile operators with the advantage of creating new systems from scratch rose to the challenge to set up a financial infrastructure quickly, while also supporting the expanding cholera epidemic and other critical healthcare issues of the country. They have been working with health providers to drive efficiencies around registration and distribution of the products and services across both sectors by leveraging resources across sectors.

In markets where there is already significant MFS penetration and usage, such as Kenya and the Philippines, the mature MFS systems are being used to support better business models, higher quality of care, or increased access to health services. These initiatives have taken root in a variety of areas – from supporting government initiated health programs, as is the case in the Philippines, to providing alternative financial tools for those left out of public insurance, as seen in Kenya. In other markets such as Ghana and Haiti, MFS are less mature. As these systems evolve, there are opportunities to incorporate extremely innovative business models and operations.

The paper also highlights key challenges that any project leader in mobile money or mobile health should know about. Here’s the PDF.

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