Membership-based microfinance with associated health programs can improve health
outcomes for the poor (Saha, 2014). Evidence from low- and middle-income countries
shows that barriers to accessing health services are likely to be higher for the poor and
other vulnerable groups, for whom the cost of access, lack of information and cultural
barriers reduce the optimum benefit that they could derive from public spending on health
care (Saha, 2014). Microfinance programs help alleviate poverty by giving the poor an
opportunity for improvement of their finances, healthcare, etc. By providing access to
healthcare, employment, and education, a community or even a country can experience
growth and development. The success of the movement in a country like Bangladesh, where
there are a staggering 20 million micro-borrowers, has shown that microfinance can lift
millions out of abject poverty (United Nations, 2015). In Bangladesh, a benefit of the
program is that the people have shown significant growth in their economic status’ and no
longer have little to no food supply. A challenge they face is that these same people that are
in the microfinance programs continue to borrow money to stay afloat. The cycle of
borrowing has made them dependent rather than independent. In all, the pros have
outweighed the cons when it comes to implementing microfinancing in Bangladesh.
Microfinance: Good for the Poor? | Africa Renewal.
Saha, Somen, and Peter Leslie Annear. Overcoming Access Barriers to Health Services
through Membership-Based Microfinance Organizations: a Review of Evidence from
South Asia. 30 June 2014,I concur with Deja’s sentiments that indeed microfinance programs based on membership, and
that span across sectors such as healthcare, social welfare, and education, primarily focus on the
alleviation of poverty and empowering the people from low-and-middle-income communities.
As a result, the integration of microfinance programs has been adopted across different low-and-
middle-income nations, as well as communities, to address poverty and further serve as a
development tool. Most fundamentally, microfinance programs have been associated with
benefits that include providing financial services such as loans, business training for the poor
RESPONSE TO DEJA CLARK 2
communities, and savings facilities for individuals that lack access to formal banking services
(Saha & Annear, 2014). Consequently, the increased access to relevant information and
resources (funds) has led to increased opportunities for boosting growth and development,
thereby culminating in the stability of the people’s economic status and social welfare.
Nevertheless, as a shortcoming, such trends and opportunities have led to increased dependence
on the microfinance programs as opposed to utilizing them to boost their lifestyles.
Saha, S., & Annear, P. (2014). Overcoming access barriers to health services through
membership-based microfinance organizations: A review of evidence from South
Asia. WHO South-East Asia Journal of Public Health, 3(2),