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APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing

Growing private sector provision of reproductive health services including family planning by mobilizing commercial finance

Lisa Tarantino, MIA, The Banking on Health Project, Banyan Global Consulting, 120 Riverside Drive, Suite 1G, New York, NY 10024, 1 301 718 3168, Lisa_Tarantino@abtassoc.com

In developing countries, the private sector provision of reproductive health and family planning products and services can mitigate women's vulnerability to changes in the political environment and government budgetary constraints. Small scale providers servicing low income populations often need financing for quality improvements and expansion. In the Philippines, the USAID sponsored project Banking on Health has tapped commercial sources of financing for private practice midwives to achieve sustainable reproductive and public health benefits.

Women prefer midwives to other health care providers for their reproductive health needs. Midwives play an important role in many Philippine communities, providing reproductive health care and often primary and emergent health services.

In October 2005, the project surveyed more than 500 private practice midwives from every region to assess their financing needs, ability to repay, and their training needs. A national association of midwives implemented the survey by distributing and explaining the questionnaire to their members. Results were analyzed on a regional basis and according to practice type considering those solely in private practice versus those with both public sector and private practices.

Survey analysis showed that midwives provide a variety of valuable products and services, they are credit-worthy, most have plans to expand or improve their practices, and yet they keep no financial records, and had never approached a formal financial institution for a loan.

Findings were used to create courses for midwives on accessing finance, to develop commercial lenders' lending practices for midwives, and to establish baseline health and business information.

The major result of this work is the entry of midwives into the commercial finance market, and the sustainable growth and improvement in health services that are resulting. Early project results indicate that when banks are engaged and midwives have information and training, midwives can successfully obtain financing. Midwives have accessed loans for opening new clinics under health department guidelines, improved conditions in existing clinics, purchasing vehicles for emergency use, and other purposes.

Effectively bridging the gap between small-scale providers and sustainable commercial financing preserves public sector funds for those less able to pay and women are less vulnerable to state policy and budgetary changes.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this session, participants will

Keywords: Financing, Public/Private Partnerships

Related Web page: www.bankingonhealth.com

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Not Answered

Reproductive Health: Innovations, Policy, and Access

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA