Potential of microfinance as a platform for delivering complementary health services
This paper describes how Freedom from Hunger partnered with five MFIs through its Microfinance and Health Protection (MAHP) initiative to design client-focused, health-related services that MFIs could practically and sustainably offer their clients. The initiative collected information through market research in Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, India and the Philippines. The research led to the development of five integrated microfinance and health protection packages. The market research examined health issues, available health services, health seeking behavior, health financing and health protection solutions, and used this information to design five health protection packages that took into account market needs, client demands and MFI goals and capacity. The packages also incorporate revenue-generation elements to ensure long-term sustainability and efficiency of operations. Finally, the paper emphasizes the need for cohesive health protection packages that offer relevant and valuable health solutions to poor people, while also being practical, sustainable, scalable and replicable for MFIs.