IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Demand-side financing for sexual and reproductive health services in low and middle-income countries : a review of the evidence

Listed author(s):
  • Witter, Sophie
  • Somanathan, Aparnaa
Registered author(s):

    Demand-side financing approaches have been introduced in a number of low and middle-income countries, with a particular emphasis on sexual and reproductive health. This paper aims to bring together the global evidence on demand-side financing mechanisms, their impact on the delivery of sexual and reproductive health services, and the conditions under which they have been effective. The paper begins with a discussion of modalities for demand-side financing. It then examines 13 existing schemes, including cash incentives, vouchers, and longer term social protection policies. Based on the available literature, it collates evidence of their impact on utilization of services, access for the poor, financial protection, quality of care, and health outcomes. Evidence on costs and cost-effectiveness are examined, along with analysis of funding and sustainability of policies. Finally, the paper discusses the preconditions for effectiveness of demand-side financing schemes and the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches. It also highlights the extent to which results for sexual and reproductive health services are likely to be generalizable to other types of health care. It is clear that some of these policies can produce impressive results, if the preconditions for effectiveness outlined are met. However, relatively few demand-side financing schemes have benefited from robust evaluation. Investigation of the impact on financial protection, equity, and health outcomes has been limited. Most importantly, cost effectiveness and the relative cost effectiveness of demand-side financing in relation to other strategies for achieving similar goals have not been assessed.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 6213.

    in new window

    Date of creation: 01 Oct 2012
    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6213
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    1818 H Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20433

    Phone: (202) 477-1234
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    in new window

    1. Powell-Jackson, Timothy & Hanson, Kara, 2012. "Financial incentives for maternal health: Impact of a national programme in Nepal," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 271-284.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6213. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Roula I. Yazigi)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.