Microfinance and Health Leaders Explore Integrated Programs for India, July 26–27, 2011

Microfinance and health leaders will meet in India to explore opportunities for collaboration between the health and microfinance sectors for millions of the Indian poor.
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July 25, 2011 - PRLog -- Microfinance and health leaders will meet in Ahmedabad July 26–27 to explore opportunities for greater collaboration between the health and microfinance sectors to improve economic productivity, health practices and access to health services for millions of the Indian poor.  

Health shocks are among the biggest and least predictable forms of uncertainty that a poor family faces, with about 39 million additional people in India falling into poverty every year as a result. Ill health and the inability to access health care are key causes and consequences of poverty for millions of people in India, with the financial and time costs of illness representing a significant burden on households.  

Microfinance, the extension of small loans, has proven to be a valuable tool for poverty reduction.  Although access to financial services is undeniably important to poor families, it is insufficient on its own to address the multi-dimensional challenges of poverty.

To address this gap, and to explore the potential for integrated approaches, the Indian Institute of Public Health Gandhinagar, Freedom from Hunger, and the Microcredit Summit Campaign have organized the workshop, Linking Health and Microfinance in India:  Improving Incomes and Promoting Universal Health Care Access for the Poor (26–27 July), in Ahmedabad, India.

This workshop brings together over 65 senior officials from microfinance, the self-help group (SHG) movement, the health sector, government, and donors and social investors for dialogue to explore intersecting objectives, services, and potential for synergy within what have been largely separate efforts towards reducing poverty and poor health.

The keynote address will be delivered by Ms. Ela Bhatt, founder of the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) of India.  A lawyer by training, Ms. Bhatt is a respected leader of the international labor, cooperative, women’s, and microfinance movements who has won several national and international awards.

Other key speakers include Sheila Leatherman, Research Professor, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina; Ms. Rita Teaotia, Commissioner and Principal Secretary Rural Development, State of Gujarat; Dr. Dileep Mavalankar, Dean, Indian Institute of Public Health, Gandhinagar; Mr. PK Saha, Chief General Manger, SIDBI; Mr. Chandra Sekhar Ghosh, Executive Director, Bandhan; and Ms. Vijaylaxmi Das, Executive Director, Ananya Finance.

The workshop dialogue will result in identification of innovative approaches to link microfinance clients and SHG members with health education, services and financing opportunities, which can  advance greater collaboration between health and microfinance services through experimentation, research, replication and expansion of innovations.

The event is co-sponsored by SIDBI, NABARD, Johnson & Johnson, Ananya Finance for Inclusive Growth, CSIR, Indian Institute of Public Health Gandhinagar, Microcredit Summit Campaign and Freedom from Hunger.

Friends from the press are invited to attend and cover the event at the Country Inn & Suites, Nr. SAL Hospital, Off Drive-in Road, Ahmedabad.

Contact Information:

Indian Institute of Public Health Gandhinagar is an initiative of Public Health Foundation of India to build institutional capacity in India for strengthening training, research and policy development in the area of public health. Contact: Somen Saha, ssaha@iiphg.org

Freedom from Hunger is an international development organization working in 19 countries across the globe. Its value-added microfinance programs are serving over 18 million people in some of the poorest countries on earth. Contact: Kathleen Stack, kstack@freedomfromhunger.org or Marcia Metcalfe, mmetcalfe@freedomfromhunger.org

Microcredit Summit Campaign is a global network of microfinance practitioners. Their Financing Healthier Lives Project aims to build a global group of MFIs capable of providing health education to their clients in a sustainable manner to reach over a half-million clients, affecting some 2.5 million family members. Contact: DSK Rao, dskrao@microcreditsummit.org
Source:Beth Harrison
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