Case Study

Designing Financial Services to Respond to Household Shocks: A Case Study of RCPB’s Health Savings and Loan Product

Key findings on resilience from a credit union network in Burkina Faso

Poor health and the inability to access health care are both key factors leading to and resulting from poverty. For financial service providers (FSPs), poor health and health shocks are very common reasons for clients to default or drop out of their programs. These realities drove the launch of Freedom from Hunger’s Microfinance and Health Protection (MAHP) pilot initiative, which aimed to demonstrate the capacity of FSPs to design and deliver health products and services and remain financially viable. Reseau des Caisses Populaires du Burkina Faso (RCPB), a credit union network based in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, was one of the original MAHP partners. 

This case study highlights the following key findings from the CGAP resilience research that can help guide further thinking about how to best design financial products for anticipating and covering health shock expenses: 

  • Health savings accounts were not successfully reaching RCPB’s poorest clients;
  • Adapting/offering a health savings account to a group of clients proved to be challenging;
  • Health expenses are not the same as health shocks when designing for improving resilience;
  • The health savings accounts can provide a protective measure against health shocks and build resilience over the long term.

About this Publication

By Gray, B. , Gash, M.