Social protection

Extending social health protection: Accelerating progress towards Universal Health Coverage in Asia and the Pacific

This regional report documents and analyses country experiences and lessons on the extension of social health protection coverage in the Asia and the Pacific region. It provides a detailed account of progress made, challenges encountered and remaining coverage gaps, and explores their root causes.

The report highlights the plurality of options available to countries and illustrates the different paths taken towards Universal Health Coverage in the region, whilst also stressing the need for sustained political commitments to social health protection and the rigorous application of international social security standards to make social health protection a reality for all in the Asia and the Pacific region and beyond. This publication aims to serve as a roadmap for practitioners and policymakers alike for the design, extension and implementation of social health protection systems that are resilient, effective, inclusive, adequate and sustainable. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, this report provides concrete insights for all stakeholders to devise inclusive recovery strategies that bring social health protection to the forefront, as part of comprehensive social protection systems.

This includes coverage of workers in all forms of employment and their families, and involves supporting the transition from the informal to the formal economy. This publication provides important insights to practitioners on concrete ways to adapt and extend social health protection, including through adapted design features building on the principles laid out in ILO standards (in particular, the Medical Care Recommendation, 1944 (No. 69), the Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention, 1952 (No. 102), the Medical Care and Sickness Benefits Convention, 1969 (No. 130), the Medical Care and Sickness Benefits Recommendation, 1969 (No. 134) as well as the Social Protection Floors Recommendation, 2012 (No. 202). Drawing on examples from Asia and the Pacific, this publication sheds light on the role of social health protection as a transformative policy contributing to effective access to health care without financial hardship in a way that fosters redistribution and solidarity.