The use of payments through mobile wallets for health care workers during the recent Ebola outbreak likely saved many lives, suggests a United Nations study.
The findings show that digital payments delivered ‘compelling results’ in Sierra Leone, including:
- government cost savings equal to the funding of the national Free Health Care Program which serves 1.4 million children and 250,000 pregnant women annually,
- the prevention of strikes over payment waiting periods and the loss of 800 working days per month within the healthcare work force,
- and $80,000 worth of savings per month on journeys to cash payment centers.
“Ebola response workers put their lives at risk every day. It was vitally important they received all the money they earned, with no skimming or theft. They got it immediately, as their families had no other income; and only legitimate workers got paid – no one else.” – Dr. Ruth Goodwin-Groen, Managing Director of The Better Than Cash Alliance.
As Sierra Leone was one of the worst-hit countries during the outbreak, finding an efficient and reliable source of payment for the crisis response team was imperative to its recovery. In a country with only 50 ATMS’s at the time of the crisis, digital payments offered the necessary solution.
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