By Victor Ahiuma-Young & Johnbosco Agbakwuru
INTERNATIONAL Labour Organisation, ILO, has called for collaborative efforts to urgently develop Social Protection System in Africa.
Mrs Cynthia Samuel-Olonjuwon, ILO Assistant Director General and Regional Director for Africa, made the call in Abuja at the launch of “World Social Protection Report (2017-2019).”
According to her, Social Protection System needs concerted efforts to advance ILO work with countries in Africa.
She noted that “in spite of significant progress in the extension of social protection coverage in Africa, only 17. 8 per cent of the population receives at least one form of social protection. There are glaring findings that the right to health is not yet a reality in many parts of the world.
“This is especially so in rural areas where 56 per cent of the population lacks health coverage, compared with 22 per cent in urban areas. Also, there is stark reality that Africa still has huge deficit, as an estimated 10 million health workers are needed to achieve universal health coverage and ensure human security.
The shortfall of seven million skilled health workers in rural areas, as well as high deficits in per capita health spending adds to these rural inequalities.”
She noted that access to health care remains one of the most pressing challenges for social protection in Africa.
The ILO Regional Director said there were about 1.3 billion children globally that were not covered by the social protection system in Africa and in Asia.
She stressed the need for urgent extension of social protection schemes to children and families in the two continents.
Samuel-Olonjuwon said it was evident that much still needs to be done in Africa to improve access to social protection and ILO was committed to working with governments to design and implement effective systems.