Enabling transition to formalization through providing access to health care: The examples of Thailand and Ghana

This paper presents the country experiences of Thailand and Ghana in improving access to health care for the workers in the informal economy and their families. The evaluation of the financing mechanism experience of these two countries and the lessons that can be gathered from their experiences to craft recommendations are the focus of this paper.The experience of the two countries shows that countries can successfully invest in affordable social health protection for the informal economy. Though they may have common health financing goals, their experiences varied due to their social, economic, historical and cultural contexts, proving that replication of experiences are not easily possible. However, the lessons learned regarding the process, the involvement and roles of key stakeholders and the policy content could be useful for other countries when choosing and designing health-care financing mechanisms to achieve universal coverage.Another key conclusion is that the use of coordinated pluralistic financing mechanisms rather than one single scheme is important for achieving universal coverage and access to affordable health services. In addition, since targeting workers in the informal economy create enforcement challenges, related coverage plans need to be developed. The necessity to increase public funds, invest in good governance and create public awareness are important challenges to be anticipated. Likewise, strengthening national capacities for sustainable social health protection are prerequisites for success.