Journal Article

Family planning vouchers in low and middle income countries: A systematic review

Family planning (FP) vouchers have targeted subsidies to disadvantaged populations for quality reproductive health services since the 1960s. To summarize the effect of FP voucher programs in low- and middle-income countries, a systematic review was conducted, screening studies from 33 databases through three phases: keyword search, title and abstract review, and full text review. Sixteen articles were selected including randomized control trials, controlled before-and-after, interrupted time series analyses, cohort, and before-and-after studies. Twenty-three study outcomes were clustered around contraceptive uptake, with study outcomes including fertility in the early studies and equity and discontinuation in more recent publications. Research gaps include measures of FP quality, unintended outcomes, clients’ qualitative experiences, FP voucher integration with health systems, and issues related to scale-up of the voucher approach.

Published in a peer-reviewed journal of the Population Council. Ben Bellows is an Associate in the Reproductive Health Program and Carol Bulaya and Sophie Inambwae were interns at the Population Council, Zambia. Craig L. Lissner is Programme Manager and Moazzam Ali is Medical Officer, UNDP-UNFPA-UNICEF-WHO-World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction (HRP), World Health Organization, Geneva. Ashish Bajracharya is Country Representative, Reproductive Health Program, Population Council, Cambodia.