Can Savings Groups Facilitate Poor Women's Access to Health Services? Lessons from the Chitral Child Survival Project, Pakistan
In northern Pakistan, the Chitral Child Survival Project (CCSP) offers lessons for the integration of Savings Groups and other services. Implemented by the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) from 2009 to 2013, and funded by USAID and the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF), the CCSP successfully integrated Savings Groups into a program designed to improvematernal and neo-natal health. CCSP increased women’s access to and use of a neo-natal continuum of care, with trained community midwives (CMWs) as the focal point. The bulk of project resources were invested in enhancing MNCH services at the community level, with one exception: Savings Groups, known in the Aga Khan network as Community-based Savings Groups (CBSGs), were introduced to help families manage the costs of the newly deployed cadre of skilled community midwives.
This document attempts to unpack these results, to tell the story of the CCSP and how groups of 20-women saving their pennies together supported the use of skilled maternal and neonatal care, making real progress towards behaviour change that will save lives. What happened in poverty-striken Chitral holds some surprises; the results should inform and inspire.