Microfinance & Health Protection Documents
Many microfinance institutions (MFIs)—particularly those serving the very poor—have witnessed the effects of all-too-common health shocks on the ability of clients to repay, save and flourish in their microenterprise endeavors. These institutions seek sustainable approaches that help safeguard their clients’ health while also protecting the institutional bottom line.
To meet this demand, Freedom from Hunger launched in January 2006 the Microfinance and Health Protection (MAHP) initiative with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Together with five well-established MFIs in Benin (PADME), Bolivia (CRECER), Burkina Faso (RCPB), India (Bandhan) and the Philippines (CARD), Freedom from Hunger sought to design and offer health-related products and services with positive health and economic impacts on clients while also being practical, cost-effective and even profitable for the MFIs. We assisted each MFI to develop its own “package” of health protection options, including health education, health financing and health microinsurance, linkages to healthcare providers and distribution of health products. After four years, the health protection services and products of the five MFIs were reaching a combined total of more than 300,000 microfinance clients.
Our MAHP initiative found that health protection services and products have a positive impact not only clients but also on the financial bottom line of the MFI. The materials we offer here include our research findings that document the impact of the health interventions on clients and on the MFIs, as well as a set of technical guides that we hope will be of use to others who seek to replicate or build on our efforts to show how microfinance and health protection can be integrated cost-effectively.
- The Business Case for Adding Health Protection to Microfinance
Cost Benefit Analysis Papers: Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, India, Philippines
- Health and Microfinance: Leveraging the Strengths of Two Sectors to Alleviate Poverty
MAHP Research Summary Reports: Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, India, Philippines
- Market Research for Microfinance and Health Protection: A Technical Guide for MFIs
- Developing Linkages with Health Providers: A Technical Guide for MFIs
- Health Loans: A Technical Guide for MFIs
- Health Savings: A Technical Note
- Microfinance and Health Protection News (Special Update)—January 2011
- Microfinance and Health Protection News—December 2009
- Microfinance and Health Protection News—July 2009
- Microfinance and Health Protection News—February 2009
- Microfinance and Health Protection News—July 2008
- Microfinance and Health Protection News—March 2008
Freedom from Hunger and five microfinance institutions (MFIs) from Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, India, and the Philippines tested whether MFIs could sustainably offer health-related services with positive health and social impacts for client. The health services ranged from education, health-financing (loans, savings and microinsurance), to linkages to health providers and health products.
Impact research included client interviews; focus-group discussions; a randomised controlled trial; and cost-benefit analyses at the institutional level. Positive benefits were detected at the client and household levels, including improved health knowledge andbehaviours, and in access to health services and products. These findings support the idea that MFIs offer large and growing distribution networks that can provide an integrated set of services to improve both health and financial security of poor families.
Integrated Health and Microfinance in India: Harnessing the Strengths of Two Sectors to Improve Health and Alleviate Poverty. State of the Field of Integrated Health and Microfinance in India, 2012
The microfinance crisis in India has been frontpage news. What many do not know is that India’s microfinance sector has become a promising platform for reaching the poor with vital health information, products, and services. Scores of microfinance institutions (MFIs) and self-help promoting institutions (SHPIs) regularly educate their clients and members on a wide range of health topics, from child and maternal health to prevention and management of diseases such as malaria, HIV/AIDS and diabetes. Some run health camps or have established health clinics. Others have innovative partnerships that connect microfinance service users with healthcare providers through telemedicine. Some institutions offer healthcare financing through health loans, health savings and health insurance.