ILO’s TRIANGLE in ASEAN programme launched a new digital service SaverAsia to help migrant workers save when sending remittance home. The web portal helps compare costs and services for sending money through various operators. The application not only features information on financial services, including bank accounts, mobile wallets, micro-credits, insurance, but also financial literacy courses, and a budget calculator. Last but not least, it helps migrants connect with local support organisations. The average cost to send remittances within the region ranges from 3 per cent to 20 per cent, depending on the service provider used. Other challenges include difficulties accessing a bank office and low awareness of available financial services. As a result, many migrants depend on a small circle of friends for financial information, use informal channels, and often queue for a long time each month to send money home by cash. SaverAsia is part of an ILO global strategy to address these challenges. It does so in three ways. First, SaverAsia helps users compare costs and services for sending money home through various money transfer operators, including online services, mobile wallets, branch-based services, and banking. It provides both live rates and full cost comparisons (collected periodically). The website allows users to compare prices and services across each major ASEAN remittance corridor, including: Singapore to Myanmar, Indonesia, or Philippines; Malaysia to Cambodia, Myanmar, or Viet Nam; and Thailand to Myanmar, Cambodia, or Laos. Secondly, it provides information on financial services, such as bank accounts, mobile wallets, micro-credits, insurance, and financial literacy courses, and a budget calculator. This will help users to save for their future and improve their finances. Thirdly, it helps users connect with local support organizations.

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February 17, 2022

Bike Ambulances to improve Emergency Obstetric Care in Rural Areas

Maternal mortality and morbidity rates remain high in Cote d’Ivoire. It is estimated that more than six women out of a thousand are dying while delivering birth, while 0.7% of the women of childbearing age have fistula in the country (MICS, 2016). While the strengthening of the health system is taking place, women in the country, especially in the rural area, stay vulnerable to the high risk of maternal death and morbidity. From behavioral perspectives, the barriers that leads to the three delays–(1) deciding to seek care; (2) identifying and reaching a medical facility; (3) receiving adequate and appropriate treatment may include the following (Cichowitz et al., 2018): Factors related to the first delay: social norms (community prefers to deliver at home), limited transportation and health care services at night, and negative experience in hospitals in the past (lack of trust). Factors related to the second delay of reaching a medical facility: a lack of available transportation, long travel times, and perception of high medical costs (walking 36.5%, car 34.6%, bus 13.5%, and motorcycle 13.5% in case of a study in Tanzania). In this context, this rapid prototyping initiative seeks to develop a new low-cost, safe transportation for women to prevent maternal mortality and morbidity in rural areas, by tackling the barriers that often lead to delay of emergency obstetric care (EmOC). It also aims to collect and utilize the GPS data/information of the bike ambulances to enable regional hospitals and the government to make better decisions in providing care, utilize hospital ambulances efficiently, and enhance communication between the care-seeker and care-provider.
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