Health services sector

Health services are one of the fundamental sectors of society and the economy. The ILO endorses the fundamental principles of the human right to health and social protection. Providing social health protection and equal access to quality health care has significant positive effects on individual and public health, economic growth and development. The health sector is also a major employment sector, with important potential in job creation.

Yet, the global shortages and unequal distribution of qualified health personnel are a major constraint in providing universal access to health care. The UN High-level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth called for investments in the health workforce, underscoring the contribution of the health sector to national economic growth.

Decent work for health workers is essential to provide quality health care. The ILO supports improvement of working conditions and labour relations in the health sector through sectoral labour standards and social dialogue, and collaborates with World Health Organization (WHO) to promote supportive, enabling and healthy work environments for the health workforce, including through the ILO-OECD-WHO Working for Health Programme.