The potential of Microfinance Institutions to advance progress towards Universal Health Coverage through Micro Health Insurance: A mixed methods study in Malawi.
Principal investigator: Manuela De Allegri
Funding: DFG (German Research Foundation)
Partners: University of Heidelberg, Germany TrustResearch for Equity and Community Health (REACH) Trust, Malawi Malawi Union of Savings and Credit Cooperatives (MUSCCO), Malawi Christian Health Association of Malawi (CHAM), Malawi
Micro health insurance (MHI) represents a promising health care financing alternative in low and middle-income countries (LMIC). In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), however, MHI development is hampered by a number of operational difficulties, primarily low and inequitable coverage rates and weak managerial capacity. Preliminary field experience suggests that channelling the development of MHI through existing microfinance institutions (MFIs) may effectively counteract such difficulties. The combination of MFI and MHI is expected to expand social health protection (defined as effective access to affordable quality care and financial protection in case of illness, ultimately contributing to poverty reduction) and to produce changes in the quality of health care services. Little scientific evidence on the combined impact of MFI and MHI is currently available and concerning sub-Saharan African virtually non-existing.
This project sets to fill this gap in knowledge addressing the main question what is the impact of MFI/MHI on social health protection. The proposed study is centred on a randomised controlled trial to be conducted in Malawi and relies on a mixed methods approach, combining quantitative and qualitative research metho