Selected extracts

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

The publication is a selection of country cases from, Extending Social Health Protection: Accelerating progress towards universal Health Protection in Asia and the Pacific. It documents country experiences and lessons learned on the extension of legal and effective coverage of Social Health Protection, both in terms of scope (population coverage) and adequacy of the benefits (service covered, level of financial protection). The seven countries covered in this document are India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Nepal, Mongolia, Philippines, and Vietnam.

The lack of affordable quality health care and income security in case of sickness for the majority of the world’s population constitutes an important poverty risk with threat of pushing the most vulnerable further behind. Each year 100 million people slide into poverty after paying for medical care and 800 million people spend at least 10 percent of their household budgets to pay for health care. This situation is due to insufficient or absence of social health protection (SHP) coverage, which affects more prominently the poor. With the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals targets, (especially targets 1.3 and 3.8), and guidance from International Labour Standards (in particular, Conventions No. 102 and No. 130 as well as Recommendation No. 202), countries are increasingly taking steps to reach universality of SHP coverage. Against this backdrop, the ILO has developed an Asia compendium, Extending Social Health Protection: Accelerating progress towards Universal health Coverage in Asia and the Pacific (2021). The seven selected country cases covered in this publication was supported by the ILO project “Technical support to Employers’ Social Insurance System (ESIS) for improving and expanding access to health care service in India – A transition to formality” (hereafter “the project”), supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.