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Microfinance for women's health

Apr 10, 2009

United Nations Population Fund's latest publication Financing Healthier Lives: Empowering women through integration of microfinance and health education calls for empowering women through a combined advocacy on microfinance and health education. The document also champions microcredit as one of the pillars for meeting the MDGs.

Healthier Lives: Empowering women through integration of microfinance and health education

Publisher: United Nations Population Fund

Every minute, a woman dies from complications during pregnancy and childbirth, and 20 more suffer serious complications—the majority of these are poor and living in developing countries. The lack of adequate financial resources limits the ability of poor families to handle traumatic health events that often plunge them into even worse economic situations.

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Conversely, poor families with access to even modest increases in financial resources can better manage the health problems that occur. A number of studies underscore these findings and show that an increase in a woman’s income has a positive impact on, among other things, the educational and nutritional status of her children.

The document highlights the importance of microfinance projects in meeting the MDG targets and the pooling together of the microfinance services and health education to enable greater prospects for the women.

The Microcredit Summit Campaign reports more than 3,300 institutions of various types offering microfinance services to more than 133 million clients, some 70 percent of whom were living in absolute poverty when they received their first loan. Of these poorest clients, more than 85 percent are women.

The document presents eight key points that developing agencies, governments and donors could focus on:

  • Direct significant financial resources to microfinance organizations focussing more on women
  • Promote combining health education and microfinance by creating more advocacy tools
  • Support sustainable microfinance for the very poor
  • Advocate for and fund evaluation efforts to assess the impact of integrated health education and microfinance services on reproductive health outcomes for poor families.
  • Collaborate with and support institutions
  • Capitalize on the existing momentum created by the Microcredit Summit Campaign’s capacity-building work

This edition features a pilot project conducted in India that shows how local capacity can effectively be built to accelerate the large-scale global adoption of integration.

Source : UNFPA
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