The Situation

Population Services International (PSI) is a leading global health nonprofit making it easier for all people to lead healthier lives and plan the families they desire. Calling on over 50 years of experience tackling complex global health challenges, PSI reimagines how to bring quality healthcare closer to those who need it most using social behavior change marketing and social enterprise solutions. PSI shapes health markets for products and services, facilitating solutions that are affordable, convenient, and effective in five health areas: sexual and reproductive health and rights, malaria, HIV/TB, non-communicable diseases, and water, sanitation, and hygiene. Their operational approaches consist of three pillars: shaping markets, shifting global health policy, and funding and strengthening global capacity. PSI is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and its network spans 50 countries. Their long-term vision is one where their clients are in control of their own healthcare decisions; a vision they call "consumer-powered healthcare."

The Roadblock

The COVID-19 crisis created many obstacles to strengthening health systems and increasing access to quality, affordable healthcare—including travel restrictions, disrupted supply chains, procurement blocks, unmanageable pressure on providers, and concerns over the health and safety of staff. With support from their partners, PSI country offices began realigning funds to integrate COVID-19 activities into existing projects, while additional funds were rapidly allocated by the donor community to address pressing health needs. PSI needed to integrate COVID-19 applications into data systems, develop and execute strategic messaging based on WHO guidance, and develop an evidence base to evaluate programming and inform response planning. PSI's global response team quickly centralized their strategy and response, providing guidance and support while creating country-specific plans.

Open Road's Response

A charitable grant of $90,000 by ORA served as a catalytic contribution that made PSI's COVID-19 Rapid Response Team possible. Thanks to this dedicated team, PSI can efficiently provide global guidance for adaptation to local contexts on behavior change communications for hand-washing and physical distancing to their network around the world. They are also expanding their digital strategy to deliver more choices and care into the hands of their consumers through mobile technology. Examples include the development of Emergency Operations Centers within Ministries of Health that build capacity and establish protocols and procedures to respond to the epidemic, and the development of digital health tools, such as COVIDcheck, that familiarizes PSI's consumers with the use of mobile technology for the delivery of health information and early diagnoses.

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