Digital Payments Revolutionize Health Worker Compensation in Africa


Foundation: Gates Foundation

The World Health Organization has taken a big step toward eliminating cash payments for its health workers in Africa.

In a press release, the WHO says it has digitized payments for more than 2 million health workers in 24 countries, and that 80% of them prefer the option of receiving their wages via mobile phones instead of cash.

The organization says the move has saved time and money for organizers of immunization campaigns, as well as improved morale and worker retention.

The WHO's Digital Finance Team has been working with countries and partners to design and implement digital payment solutions in 24 countries, including last year in Benin, Botswana, Madagascar, Rwanda, Togo, and Zimbabwe.

"When you have 300 to 500 volunteers to pay, doing accounts and signing receipts takes a lot of time," says a polio team leader in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"Now we can relax."

Surveys funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation found that workers appreciated the security of not carrying cash, the convenience of no longer having to travel to a disbursement site to receive their wages, and above all, the speed of payment: as short as half an hour after finishing work compared to weeks or even months.

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