University of Wisconsin–Madison

Health access program bridges micro-finance, health for Uganda’s poor

Health Access Connect hosts UW-Madison interns through the International Internship Program. Find the postings for the summer 2018 Media & Communications Internship and the Monitoring & Evaluation Internship

By David Tenenbaum

In 2008, Kevin Gibbons began research in Uganda’s fishing communities. His goal, as a student at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, was to understand how efforts to promote sustainable fisheries affected family income.

Patients, mostly mothers and children, outside a clinic along Lake Victoria, Uganda. As the sign indicates, the clinic relies on health workers from the government Ministry of Health, transported by Health Access Connect (HAC). 

And then a series of “smack yourself on the forehead” moments caused him to switch gears from fishery management to the problem of access to health care.

Today, Gibbons is executive director of Health Access Connect (HAC), a non-profit that merges microfinance and health-care access in Uganda. HAC lends to taxi drivers wanting to buy a motorcycle. In return, the driver agrees to spend three days a month transporting government health workers to nearby villages for a monthly clinic.

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