Microfinance and Health Protection Program Global Overviews
KMany 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.
Publication Date: 01/01/2013