When aid goes to someone in need halfway around the world, how does one know if the payment truly got there? This is a concern to many not-for profit organizations providing aid worldwide. According to The Guardian, in the past public health schemes relied, “heavily on cash: to make payments for medical services, to pay health workers, to buy drugs at pharmacies. Yet it is becoming increasingly apparent that digital payments in rural, remote areas settings are quicker, easier, and safer.”
As the report notes, the chance of fraud taking place is significantly reduced merely by virtue of money being passed through fewer hands. Best of all, by cutting out all the middle-men, the cost of actually getting that money to where it is needed is simultaneously reduced.
Not only does digital payment aid in fraud prevention and detection, it aids in other consequential ways too.
“A digital trail also allows for easy data collection, auditing, and transparency, all of which is essential in health programming,” The Guardian explains. “Ultimately, USAID suggests programs could create sustainable business models, becoming less dependent on donor funding and build relationships with new corporate partners.”
Has there been proof of digital payments being successful? The Guardian tells us about aid for Fistula patients in Tanzania. Fistula is a disabling condition that leaves women incontinent as a result of prolonged or obstructed labor. A woman in need of surgery was forced to endure the pain and stigma of the disease because she was unable to make the 2-3 day journey due to the lack of funds resulting from a broken aid disbursement.
To aid these women, Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation and the Vodafone Foundation came together and were able to pay electronically for transportation. This is only one example from showing the benefits of digital payments for worldwide healthcare. There are many more cased on record, and as digital payment programs grow and expand globally, there will be many more cases to follow.