Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies

Thanks to a microfinance institution, more mothers have access to vital health education and services

A health crisis has the most immediate and long-term impact on any family. The loss of a mother or baby is especially devastating.

In the Philippines, Freedom from Hunger (now part of Grameen Foundation) has worked with CARD MRI and RESULTS Educational Fund to improve health outcomes in vulnerable communities. Our Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies program (known locally in Tagalog as Kalinga kay Inay) educates women on available maternal health services, practices for healthy pregnancy and safe deliveries, and the use of prenatal care and safe birth services. 

Health education has always played a central role in efforts to support maternal and infant care. Oftentimes, the challenge has been reaching clients consistently. One way to address this is by working through organizations that already have a trusted relationship with clients. Our local partner, CARD MRI, which has the country’s largest microfinance network, provided that all-important bridge. 

Pregnant women who visited CARD for microfinance services or visited the health fairs it hosted received valuable lessons and were connected to broader health services and the national health insurance program, PhilHealth.

The program complements efforts by the Filipino government to reduce the rate of maternal deaths, particularly through connecting with community-based women’s groups, like the microfinance groups CARD supports. 

In the first phase of the project, we aimed to reach 600,000 women and their families.with maternal health education and 8,000 women through health fairs. Exceeding our goals, we provided health education to more than 815,000 women and provided screenings, ultrasounds and free vitamins to 9,000 women at nine health fairs. 

The program is now being run by CARD in coordination with several other Filipino organizations. This spring, they plan to train additional health trainers so that they can reach even more women.