Health care, microfinance, and insurance in Nepal
An approach that is able to simultaneously develop community based health care and services, orient the people to understand the need for and to utilize such a system, and build capacity so that health care can be afforded, is the main solution to the failing health systems in most developing countries, including Nepal where health services remain in shambles.
Community based health care run by a not-for-profit organization can bring quality health services to rural areas of a developing country. However, it is essential to address health care not as an isolated entity but to integrate community development and capacity building into the system. Dhulikhel Hospital is a not-for-profit tertiary care center providing health services also at numerous outreach centers located in impoverished rural villages in Nepal. About four years ago we initiated a community development program targeting women for social support and to participate in a microfinance loan program. Recently we added a component in which health education and participation in a minimal-cost health insurance program has helped these women to get health care at the outreach center. This system has been extraordinarily successful thus far. We believe that this integrative approach is an excellent model that we would like to expand and offer as a model to other regions and nations.