The SHOPS project was designed to enhance the effectiveness of the private sector as a sustainable approach to providing quality health services, especially in the critical areas of family planning and reproductive health, MCH, and HIV and AIDS. Other areas of focus included infectious disease; water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH); and environmental health. By engaging and supporting the growing private health sector in developing countries, as a complement to public sector health services, the project aimed to improve both the availability and the quality of critical health services.
Demonstrated results include measurable increases in knowledge, supply, and use of family planning, MCH, and HIV and AIDS services; improved conditions for private sector involvement; and greater sustainability of health outcomes.
Many rural areas in Malawi struggle to maintain access to safe drinking water, where communities rely on boreholes, shallow hand-dug wells, and surface water, and are far from stores that sell water treatment products. To increase access and use of water treatment products, SHOPS tested four models for promoting chlorine-based water treatment products, including free distribution, water hygiene kits, commercial sales, and community-based sales. SHOPS found that the product WaterGuard, marketed by PSI since 2003, was most popular, well-regarded, and easiest to use. To promote household use, SHOPS aired WaterGuard promotional messages on two national radio advertisements that reminded consumers of the importance of treating drinking water.
SHOPS also supported Evidence Action in piloting the Dispensers for Safe Water (DSW) project, which installed communal chlorine dispensers that reduced chlorine costs through bulk purchasing and increasing use through social pressure. SHOPS assisted the DSW project with installing 50 dispensers in the district of Zomba, encouraging community members to use the dispensers, and monitoring the usage rate. To ensure the DSW project’s sustainability in Malawi, SHOPS worked with Evidence Action to replicate a new carbon credit financing mechanism and pilot newly designed solid chlorine dispensers.