In addition to being keenly aware of their financial bottom line, many microfinance institutions (MFIs) strive to uphold a social mission. These need not be mutually exclusive. There are many ways to integrate health with microfinance, ranging from more basic to more complex approaches. Key components to any approach include effective partnerships, a deep understanding of the target population and context and a package of products that build upon and complement one another.
Education is the foundation upon which everything else can be built. It serves as an introduction, providing knowledge about health issues and creating relevancy and demand for appropriate health products and services. Health education can improve and change knowledge, attitudes and behaviors. It also serves as a way to promote other health-related products and services that your institution offers, or might offer, in the future. However, if the idea of offering health micro-insurance or designing health loans or savings products sounds intimidating, incorporate those later.