The Impact of a Microfinance Program on Private Health Care Providers in Uganda

Date Published: 
Mar 2004
Seiber, E. & Robinson-Miller, A.

An assessment of the impact of loans on the viability of healthcare providers

This evaluation assesses the impact of the "Summa" microfinance program on the viability of small-scale private health care practices in Uganda.

The paper provides the following information about Summa:

  • It is a not-for-profit investment fund that provides financing and technical assistance to the private health care sector in developing countries;
  • Its objectives have been to:
    • Increase practice viability,
    • Improve and expand services.

The paper presents the following features of the study:

  • Objectives:
    • To examine loan impact on client perception of quality of care in recipient practices;
    • To assess the role of perceived quality in improving client flow through increased client loyalty and new-client recruitment.
  • Methodology:
    • A quasi-experimental design including baseline and follow-up surveys and a non-equivalent comparison group;
    • Client exit interviews at 22 intervention clinics and 7 comparison clinics.
  • Findings:
    • Perceived quality at follow-up improved for loan recipients' practices;
    • Clients were 4.2 times as likely to choose the provider on the basis of drug availability; 2.0 times for fair charges; 1.6 times for cleanliness; and 5.2 times for confidentiality;
    • There was a broadening of the client base;
    • Loan clinics did attract new clients;
    • The program appears to have strengthened revenue, contributing significantly to loan clinic viability.

The paper concludes that:

  • The microfinance program has improved the financial viability of loan-recipient providers;
  • The intervention may have contributed to improved public health outcomes.