Reliable healthcare is often out of reach for poor households that have limited access to health facilities and difficulty affording their services. When poor people need treatment, out-of-pocket expenses often make safe, reliable care unattainable.
We apply our expertise in financial services and in mobile health to develop financial products that enable the poor to manage the economic burden that accompanies healthcare needs.
Microfinance and Health Protection
Microfinance is a powerful tool in the fight against poverty and hunger, but the positive impacts of microfinance can be undermined when a client or family member falls ill, causing late payments or even default. This is especially true in very poor, rural communities, where people are exposed to more health risks and have few options for health care.
Microfinance and Health Protection promotes and supports good health through an integrated set of services - health and nutrition education, health financing and microinsurance, linkages to health providers, and access to health products.
This integrated approach to health reaches poor women and their families through a network of Financial Service Providers and other organizations.
Microfinance and Health Protection is a legacy program of Freedom from Hunger, now part of Grameen Foundation. It was launched in 2006 with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and continues to guide the health components of many projects today.
Too often, Kenyans have no health insurance and little access to funds to pay for unexpected illnesses. This can force them to delay seeking medical care, self-diagnose and treat, or forego needed treatment – with potentially deadly consequences.
Grameen Foundation partnered with MicroEnsure to help poor Kenyans access the health care they need. We designed Fearless Health, a “just-in-time” credit service that requires no advance purchase or planning for those in need of medical care at outpatient clinics.
Fearless Health members sign up in the clinic, and pay for their care over time with mobile money. As patients pay for the services they received, they gain access to hospitalization insurance and telemedicine services. Currently, six outpatient clinics in Nairobi offer this program.
Fearless Health has been embraced by clients and clinics. In 2016, the WISH Foundation selected Fearless Health as one of 20 global health innovations that it will highlight as an innovation that is “novel, engaging and with great potential for impact.”
While Grameen Foundation’s role has concluded, MicroEnsure is exploring how best to roll out Fearless Health more widely and boost Kenyan’s access to vital and timely health care.