fets,PharmAccess Support Communities On Mobile Health


Funds and Electronic Transfer Solutions Limited (fets) a leading Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) licensed mobile money operator in Nigeria and Communic8Health, a health market consumer research organization in collaboration with PharmAccess Mobile Health Research Lab in Nigeria have successfully completed a study on digital payment for healthcare.

Using the fets mobile money wallet platform, fetswallet, the main objective of the study was to know how mobile phones and mobile payment technologies can be used to improve access to affordable and quality healthcare services to individuals and communities otherwise constrained.

The study was designed to introduce low income households to mobile payment as an alternative to cash payments for health services; assess its usability and acceptability; observe any change in healthcare utilization in the participating health facilities and the target participants’ health-seeking behavior and eventually migrate the households to a saving test to cater for their health expenses.

The observation study was carried out on 4 health facilities and 50 low income households in Makoko (a peri-urban community in Lagos), primarily targeting women with under-5 children (classified as principals for the test) who owned a mobile phone.

MD,fets,Mrs Omotade Odunowo said: “We’re delighted to partner PharmAccess in this innovative initiative.  We’re determined to spread the ‘gospel’ of electronic money transfer via fetswallet to every nook and cranny in the country.

“The results from research will form viable data to inspire more of our service and product offerings to reach more Nigerians, especially disadvantaged individuals and communities who will benefit from our services.”

Dr Ademola Serrano, Principal Consultant at Communc8Health comments on the initiative: “Communic8Health believes the innovative application of simple and effective technologies will solve common, real-world health problems in developing countries. This is what drives our approach to all projects we undertake.”

“The Mobile Health Research Labs, Lagos – in partnership with the PharmAccess Foundation and FETS Limited – is providing the space where innovation in mobile health meets research, and we are glad to collaborate with them in creating sustainable mhealth solutions,” he added.

Prior to the commencement of the test, a program orientation workshop was conducted for the principals on how to use their activated mobile money wallet to pay for health purchases and the protocol for access to care.

As an added incentive N2,000 was subsidized to each household’s fetswallet to encourage participation in the program and the observation study while the health facilities were not incentivized beyond the attraction of dedicated clients during the test period

In terms of educational background and awareness, over 75% of the women recruited had completed secondary school education and only a few of the participating households had heard of “mobile money”, and field agents recruited from the community had to explain its difference to the mobile call credit repeatedly.

From the health facilities perspective, after “ease of payment”, the convenience of using the fets mobile payment platform was actually the most touted advantage, and it was the main reason for recommendation to others while from the households’ perspective, over 82% stopped carrying cash to the hospital due to the fact that they trusted their fetswallet to work.

At the end of the six-months, almost all (98%) of the households indicated fetswallet had positively influenced the way they manage healthcare expenses. Likewise, over 54% of the participating households indicated that they would like to save their own personal funds using the fets mobile money platform when asked.

As a result of the ease and convenience from using their fetswallet accounts, healthcare utilization increased in 58% of households as compared to the preceding half-year, 26% of them had lower utilization rates, and 16% did not change their healthcare utilization pattern.

Overall, the study demonstrated that the use of the USSD mobile money platform with short code *610# is fairly easy to learn and generally acceptable if payment instruction is simplified for a product offering.

Most participants adapted fast in learning how to use fetswallet mobile payment platform, and while a number of participants could check their balances when the wanted to.


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