Population Services International

Population Services International helps women live healthier lives and plan the families they desire through a network of locally-rooted, globally-connected organizations working to achieve consumer-powered healthcare. 

Their annual demonstrated impact includes:

  • Reaching 14.6 million consumers through accelerated market growth and systems change by working with governments.  
  • Reaching 5.8 million consumers through their social business model by funding shops where individuals may access basic medicines and contraceptives. 

Key Strengths: Scale, Durability

Multidimensional Poverty Index Indicators: Agency and empowerment, Child mortality

Other Key Outcomes: Early pregnancy rates, Healthcare utilization, Disease burden

Recent Expense Budget: US$445,000,000

Year Founded: 1970

Active in
Global network of
local experts
Added an estimated
years of healthy lives in 2018

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The problem: lack of access to family planning

There are 214 million women and girls in the developing world who want contraception, but can’t access or afford it. [1] Those who do have access often haven’t been educated about the range of healthcare and family planning options available, or face barriers such as religious, social, and cultural norms.

These women run high risks of complications during pregnancy — even death. They often drop out of school and struggle to financially care for their families. The burden to break the cycle of extreme poverty grows.

There are 214 million women and girls in the developing world who want contraception, but can’t access or afford it.
Cambodian mother smiling down at baby in her arms
Project Services International/Jake Lyell

The solution: consumer-powered healthcare

When we approach health care from the consumer’s perspective, individuals are empowered to make their own best health decisions, ensuring they have access to the educational and professional opportunities they want. As the largest youth population in history reaches reproductive age, there’s a huge opportunity to teach young people about their contraceptive choices.

How Population Services International works

For 50 years, PSI has been committed to using measurement and evaluation to identify and develop the most impactful, innovative, and cost-effective solutions to some of the most challenging health issues in the developing world. They use television, radio, print, social media, and one-on-one outreach to educate and promote adoption of healthy behaviors. They also work in partnership with local healthcare workers to leverage existing infrastructures and broaden their impact.

PSI believes that universal health coverage can only be achieved by taking a business approach to saving lives. Borrowing a model most commonly used in for-profit enterprises, PSI oversees 21 healthcare franchise networks that provide products and services to millions of people each year. Their 10,000+ franchisees increase access to affordable care, reducing the strain on overstretched healthcare systems and creating economic opportunities for local communities.

Women sitting in a contraception education clinic in Tanzania

To maximize impact, PSI targets health care issues that are cost-effective to treat, yet often remain overlooked in the developing world. In 2018, their spectrum of accomplishments included:

  • Inserting almost 2 million long-acting reversible contraceptives (including implants and IUDs)
  • Distributing 50 million insecticide-treated bed nets, 620,000 diarrhea treatment kits, and over 5.17 million male and female condoms
  • Providing over 2 million HIV/STI testing and counseling sessions
  • Supplying over 2 million HIV self-test kits to increase the adoption of HIV prevention and treatment

PSI strives for the double bottom line of stronger health outcomes and self-sustaining revenue.

What makes Population Services International so effective

Global healthcare networks

PSI oversees more than 10,000 healthcare franchisees within 21 networks, serving millions of people across 34 countries.

Human-centered design

PSI’s proprietary Keystone Design Framework helps drive effective, scalable, and sustainable interventions that reach and support individuals in the developing world.

Income-based services

PSI provides care at commercial, subsidized, and free rates, depending on how much an individual, family, or community can afford. All clients have access to affordable healthcare, regardless of income.

Youth outreach

To better reach youth, PSI has hired more young people to design, implement, and scale interventions in target countries so individuals can learn about health options from workers who best understand their needs.

Careful monitoring

PSI evaluates their impact in much the same way a for-profit business measures its profits. They use sophisticated health models to inform their strategy and ensure programs are targeted, economical, and effective. [2]


Not all of PSI’s work can be measured by DALY (disability-adjusted life year) averted, but the work that can costs US$24.14 per year of healthy life per person — or US$48.28 for a mother and child.

Population Services International’s accountability and partnerships

PSI is committed to transparency. They share their annual reports and financial statements on their website. [3]

PSI partners with governments and major international organizations including the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the United Kingdom Department for International Affairs (DFID), and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. They also work with strategic partners, including Abbott, Unilever, and Pfizer, to sustain and scale their healthcare efforts.

Recognition for Population Services International

PSI has been recognized by DFID, The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, among others, for their innovative and impact-driven global health initiatives.

Most recently, PSI was awarded the 2019 Accelerators Award by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for their Smart Start Adolescents 360 project in Ethiopia. Smart Start introduces young couples to contraceptive counseling through financial planning, and boasts a 74% voluntary acceptance rate for contraceptives among young married girls. [4]