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Microfinance: A tool for women's economic advancement and the implications for health promotion

Kohli, Monica (2014) Microfinance: A tool for women's economic advancement and the implications for health promotion. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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International agencies have stated public health goals to advance human development in the world’s poorest populations by 2015. Of the 1.3 billion people living in poverty, 70 percent are women and girls. These women are also at greater risk for ill-health due to gender discrimination, compromised health knowledge, and limited access to health care services. In developing countries, women are often excluded from participating in labor markets, because of traditional expectations for engaging in housework and caretaking of children. As a result they have lower economic productivity, do not generate incomes, and rarely possess assets. Poor women’s extreme poverty negatively impacts their socioeconomic welfare and health. Worsened states of health in turn decrease their potential for economic productivity. For these reasons, women are prime targets for poverty alleviation programs. Traditional financing systems and aid programs have not been successful in reaching poor women. Microfinance presents an alternative approach to tackling poverty through lending individuals small amounts of credit, known as microloans, to invest in business ventures. Borrowers of microloans experience an increase in available income, which leads to improvements in their livelihood and household wellbeing. Today, women are the primary recipients of microloans worldwide. In addition, microfinance programs are well positioned to promote health, because healthier borrowers are able to produce higher returns on loans. Programs that deliver health interventions have lead to significant improvements in participants’ health. Specifically, the addition of health education to microfinance programs has demonstrated improvements in various health indicators, such as HIV spread, gender-related violence, and children’s health and nutrition. Some programs have also been successful in connecting borrowers with health care resources, such as primary and prenatal care, but require greater funding and infrastructure than these countries can deliver. Further research and development are needed to expand efforts to promote health through microfinance. Additionally, progress is needed for establishing microfinance programs in remote communities, such as those in sub-Saharan Africa. Microfinance programs are an important focus for public health officials concerned with human development, because of their potential to alleviate poverty and promote health for the world’s most vulnerable populations.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Kohli, Monica
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairLave, Judith Rlave@pitt.eduLAVEUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberTerry, Martha Annmaterry@pitt.eduMATERRYUNSPECIFIED
Date: 28 August 2014
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 2014
Submission Date: 22 July 2014
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Health Policy & Management
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2014 16:52
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2023 10:56


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