In countries hard hit by the AIDS epidemic, basic needs often go unfulfilled,
rendering medical care an unattainable dream. But one innovative program—a
kind of public health perpetual-motion machine—is helping families cope
with the epidemic by providing the means to allow them to help themselves .
Run by Project HOPE, a Norfolk, Va, nonprofit organization, the 11-year-old
Village Health Bank offers small loans to collectives of 10 to 20 women in
Malawi, Thailand, and 5 other developing countries. Women who receive loans
attend twice-monthly health education sessions, tailored to local needs, while
repaying the principal and small amounts of interest.
Vastag B. Small Loans Yield Big Health Profits. JAMA. 2004;292(2):159-160. doi:10.1001/jama.292.2.159