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Microfinance moving into healthcare

San Francisco Chronicle, October 23, 2008

Global microfinance leaders met in San Francisco to discuss a new strategy to get the world's poorest borrowers to repay their loans: Keep them healthy. In 2007, Freedom from Hunger started its Microfinance and Health Protection Program at microfinance institutions in five nations, offering discount doctor visits, healthcare savings accounts, affordable medicines, and emergency healthcare loans. In most cases, customers were required to attend healthcare classes in order to get the small business loan. Philanthropists and anti-poverty experts who use microloans have noticed illness is the most common reason for default.