Microfinance institutions continue to provide health services to the poor communities

Twenty one microfinance institutions in the country inked a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to provide access to health care services to poor communities last May 15, 2015 in AIM Conference Center Manila (ACCM) in Makati City.

“Helping poor communities through financial access is undeniably important in poverty eradication. But this is insufficient to reach our goal. Poor health and having no access to health care service are big part of continuous poverty in many countries.  We realize the importance of good health of microfinance institutions (MFIs) clients to help them continue improve their quality of life,” said Marilyn M. Manila, the Chairperson of MFIs for Health. MFIs for Health also wants to build a strong partnership with different MFIs to generate synergies in addressing health inequities in the country.

The 21 microfinance institutions namely ARDCI NGO Group, Inc., ASA Philippines Foundation Inc., Alalay Sa Kaunlaran Inc., Bangko Kabayan Inc., Bukidnon Integrated Network of Home Industries, Inc., CARD Bank, Inc., Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD), Inc., CARD SME Bank, Inc., Center for Community Transformation, Community Economic Venture, Inc., Daan Sa Pag-Unlad, Inc., Kabalikat Para Sa Maunlad Na Buhay Inc., KFI Center for Community Development Foundation, Inc., LifeBank Foundation, Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation, Inc., Pag-Inupdanay, Inc., Rizal Rural Bank, Inc., Rural Bank of Talisayan-Mutual Benefit Association and Fonus Multipurpose Cooperative (MFI), Inc., Taytay Sa Kauswagan, Inc., Tulay Sa Pag Unlad, Inc. and USWAG Development Foundation, Inc., signed the MOA.

The said signing ceremony was also witnessed by Senator Paulo Benigno “Bam” Aquino, Atty. Alexander Padilla, the President of Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), representatives from Department of Health (DOH), Microfinance Council of the Philippines (MCPI) and other international partners of CARD MRI.

According to Atty. Padilla, PhilHealth will continue to strive for excellence to provide financial risk protection. He also recognized the role of MFIs for Health as partners to achieve health protection for all Filipinos.

“The microfinance industry has grown so much over the past year. Its growing industry means supporting more Filipinos who are in need. It is crucial that the MFI industry should continue to innovate programs like the MFIs for Health and unlock more accessible opportunities that go beyond financing and bring it to our countrymen especially in the areas who have less opportunities. Our office is committed to pushing the policies in order to get there,” said Senator Aquino. We should continue to work together. Rest assured that we are here as your main partner in the senate,” he added.

Prof. Ernesto Garilao, the President of Zuellig Family Foundation, Mr. Allan Robert Sicat, the Executive Director of MCPI, Camille Rivera, the Senior Program Associate of the Micro Credit Summit (MCS) Campaign and Mr. Steve Hollingworth, the President of Freedom from Hunger (FFH) also gave a message of support to the MFIs for Health.

Dr. Jaime Aristotle B. Alip, the Founder and Managing Director of CARD MRI was pleased for the support given by Senator Bam, PhilHealth and local and international institutions on the MFIs’ undertaking to reach people who are cut off from the different opportunities that they should have. “I am thankful with the different institutions for believing that the joint microfinance and health could help improve the quality of life of many Filipinos,” said Dr. Alip.

In 2006, FFH and CARD MRI partnered in implementing the Microfinance and Health Protection (MaHP) Program. The partnership between the two organizations continued because of its desire to reach more Filipinos and provide them with health services. In 2013, and with CARD leading the initiative, 18 MFIs in the Philippines signed a MOA to include basic health services in their main programs and share leadership and resources to efficiently and effectively deliver said health services that will benefit about 4.3 million clients. MaHP was established to complement the services of the government. With the outreach and structure of MFIs, millions of microfinance clients will be reached.

This 2015, the 18 MFIs grew to 21 to deliver health service to the communities who are unable to attend a formal health care service. With this growing number of MFIs more clients will be provided with health protection services.

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