International Labour Organisation, ILO, yesterday said more than half of the world’s population lacked access to essential health care and 29 per cent had comprehensive social security coverage.
In a new report on the implementation of social protection in more than 100 countries, released in Geneva Switzerland, ILO said “Globally, only 68 per cent of persons of retirement age receive some form of pension, and in many low-income countries this drops to just 20 per cent. Fewer than 60 per cent of countries reported that they had schemes or benefits to ensure income security for children.
The findings are coming in the General Survey 2019 compiled by the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations, CEACR..
The Survey (published under the title: Universal social protection for human dignity, social justice and sustainable development) focuses on the ILO’s Social Protection Floors Recommendation, 2012 (No. 202), calls for basic income security and essential healthcare guarantees from childhood to old age. It also aims to encourage greater levels of protection for as many people as possible, as soon as possible.
According to Emmanuelle St-Pierre Guilbault, Legal Specialist at the ILO’s International Labour Standards Department, “Social protection is proven to be good for societies and economies. This human right clearly has strong buy-in from countries, employers and workers across the world. This is a ‘must’ to tackle the broad and rising inequality we see today and foster stability.
“The ILO stands ready to help countries address any remaining obstacles, including the major issue of financing, on the road to achieving sufficient social protection for all,” she added.
The report found that while universal health coverage has been achieved in many high- and middle-income countries, in many countries the population only has access to certain components of health care.
The main deficits in essential health care access relate to the underfunding of health protection, shortages of health workers and high rates of out-of-pocket payments. This results in an increased risk of impoverishment and financial hardship, which is found in all regions of the world.
The report says that more effort is needed to establish universal health coverage in both law and practice, including the reallocation of budgets and an increase in the number of health workers.