[CSH Lecture Series #10 – ONLINE] Rural microfinance and maternal health (D. Ahmad)
University of Canberra
Rural microfinance and maternal health: Evidence from the Uttar Pradesh Community Mobilisation and Health Program
The session will be online via Zoom on 12 April 2021, 05:00 pm onwards:
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Abstract: Improving maternal health is a global public health priority with almost 295,000 maternal deaths occurring annually with the majority in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. India alone accounts for an estimated 10 percent of global maternal deaths. Although India has prioritised institutional delivery through conditional cash transfer schemes, substantial gaps persist in early identification and care of maternal complications for rural low-income populations Recently, a promising community-based intervention that builds on the concept of empowering women by providing health literacy through microfinance based women-only Self Help Groups was implemented in rural India for improving maternal health. Danish’s doctoral research at the University of Canberra, Australia evaluates the impact of membership in this Integrated Microfinance and Health Literacy (IMFHL) program on some key indicators of maternal health knowledge and preparedness.
The research used secondary survey data collected cross-sectionally from women that had delivered in the last 12 months and used multivariate regression analysis for the research studies. The study found that SHGs exerted both a dissemination effect of planned health knowledge and behavior among members, as well as facilitated a diffusion effect of the natural transfer of knowledge and BPCR practice from members to non-members when SHGs are layered up with a health literacy component. The IMFHL platform presents an example of a novel community-based strategy with the potential to interrupt the mutually reinforcing cycles of poverty and reduced healthcare-seeking in other low resource settings in India and globally to improve maternal health.
Danish Ahmad is a global health researcher and primary care physician with faculty affiliations at the Public Health Foundation of India-Indian Institute of Public Health Gandhinagar. At PHFI, Danish was part of a team that implemented an innovative integrated microfinance-based maternal health program(IMFHL) in rural Uttar Pradesh to promote maternal, neonate and child health. This research is from Danish’s PhD at the Health Research Institute, the University of Canberra where he quantitatively evaluated the IMFHL program to assess the program had shifted community norms around health while improving household’s economic wellbeing. A specialist in community program development and evaluation using advanced quantitative modeling, Danish’s research incorporates developmental epidemiology and global health practice with a focus on regional health security. Originally from Kashmir, Danish has completed his medical and public health training at Delhi University, Oxford University and Canberra University. Danish welcomes research collaborations and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org /Twitter: @DrDanish_01