Promoting universal health coverage with a rights-based approach: ILO steps up action for UHC Day 2023

The world is experiencing stagnating progress towards achieving universal health coverage (UHC) by 2030, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the High-Level Meeting on UHC in September, Member States pledged to accelerate their efforts to rekindle progress towards UHC. Importantly, the declaration underlines that UHC is to be realized when social protection is guaranteed for all, including the vulnerable. Highlighting the central role of social health protection in ensuring effective access to safe, quality and affordable healthcare services for all, the ILO is committed to to promote a rights-based approach to attain the goal of UHC, including through scaled-up country operations and collaboration with key partners.

Supporting legal reviews in Lao PDR and building actuarial capacities in South-East Asia

In Lao People’s Democratic Republic, out-of-pocket expenditures are high, standing at 49 per cent of current health expenditures, leaving many households vulnerable to impoverishment when sick. With the support of Luxembourg, the ILO  is finalizing an actuarial analysis and legal review in Lao PDR, assisting the Government in the ongoing revision of the Health Insurance and Social Security Laws. The revisions to the health insurance and social security laws are expected to help address the financial sustainability of the health insurance fund and to contribute to better compliance with international social security standards on coverage and adequacy of benefits.

Tailored support to countries such as Lao PDR is accompanied by capacity reinforcement at the regional level. In November 2023, the ILO held a one-week training in Bangkok for governments officials undertaking actuarial work for social security. Actuarial analysis are essential to ensure health and social protection systems are able to provide adequate benefits on a sustainable basis. Over 40 participants from Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Pakistan, Thailand, and Viet Nam, acquired skills in the actuarial analysis methodology and process, interpretation of the results, and their application to policy making, learning from concrete country experiences, such as Thailand. The training has concrete applications in countries. 

The training was made possible thanks to support from Luxembourg and Thailand, in collaboration with CONNECT.

Look at the videos from participants here:

Supporting sustainable strategies for the extension of health coverage in Honduras

The ILO provides technical assistance and training to the Social Security Institute's staff in the use of the ILO/HEALTH actuarial model. Further,  a diagnosis of institutional management aimed at strengthening social health protection in Honduras included recommendations to extend coverage, improve financing, optimize systems and processes, as well as governance and legal frameworks. Support to the Ministry of Social Development (SEDESOL) is provided on the drafting of a Comprehensive Social Protection System bill, including a proposal for a consolidated Universal Health Insurance guarantee.

Integrating refugees and host communities in social health protection and income support scheme during maternity in Kenya

ILO, UNHCR and UNICEF alongside the government agencies on both county and national levels held a workshop in November 2023 on the improvement of social protection coverage for refugees, with a focus on health and maternity benefits. The workshop concluded with a collaborative development for an action plan, signalling a major stride towards greater societal integration of refugees’ population in Kenya.

The consultations built on the ILO support to the National Hospital Insurance Fund to introduce a new maternity cash benefit.

Informing institutional arrangements to extend health coverage in Madagascar

The National Social Security Fund (CNaPS) in Madagascar and has a new programme of health coverage for pensioners and vulnerable beneficiaries in partnership with mutual health insurance associations. In this context, the ILO facilitated knowledge sharing on possible institutional arrangements for extension, including sharing the results of a global review of the role of mutuals in social health protection systems, as well as a national diagnostic of mutuals in Madagascar.

Supporting the extension of health coverage to cash transfer beneficiaries in Zambia

The ILO supported the National Health Insurance Management Authority (NHIMA) in Zambia through actuarial and claims analyses. This was followed by the successful planning of the scheme’s extension to cash transfer beneficiaries. In addition, in December 2023, the ILO will conduct a training on monitoring for social health insurance to the NHIMA, which will further support NHIMA’s Monitoring and Evaluation framework.


Events 12.12.2023 - 12.12.2023 social health protection