Integrating ARI Prevention with Micro Credit Programme: Experience of BRAC, Bangladesh
This paper analyzes the contribution of acute respiratory infections (ARI) control project within the framework of a microcredit based development intervention in promoting maternal knowledge of ARIs in children.
Study data is drawn from a cross-sectional survey of 2,814 mothers of under 5 year old children in 200 randomly selected villages in five districts in Bangladesh. Findings indicate that:
- ARI control project had significant positive effects in raising knowledge of clinical signs and preventive measures;
- Maternal knowledge improved even more when ARI control project activities were integrated with the credit-based development initiative and adjusted for influence of age, education and exposure to media.
The study concludes that the microcredit program can be a catalytic agent in raising health knowledge among poor women in developing countries. Conventional health information systems often fail to reach the poor as they are not specifically designed for them. The microcredit program, on the other hand, pays more attention to the needs of the poor and their ability to understand. A health improvement strategy within a development framework is therefore better able to address the problems of the poor in rural communities.