Turning the COVID-19 crisis into an opportunity: what is next for... has ended
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Tuesday, October 6 • 1:00am - 2:00am
RT 1 - Health protection and sickness benefits to face pandemics

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Access to health care without hardship and income security in times of sickness are central objectives of social protection systems. The COVID-19 crisis highlighted the importance of having a strong social health protection system articulating both access to health services for all and income support for people affected by the disease.

As a response to the COVID-19 crisis, many countries have taken measures to enhance access to affordable health care and close gaps in social health protection. Many such measures could be expanded beyond the crisis, including by:
  • enhancing financial protection against health-care expenses and ensuring the universality and continuity of such coverage;
  • integrating prevention, testing and treatment measures (including telemedicine) within health-care benefit packages;
  • channelling additional fiscal resources into the health system to enhance the availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality of health services for all;
  • improving coordination in the health system with a central role for public provision, sometimes complemented by private service providers under public regulation.
Similarly, the COVID-19 crisis has exposed critical gaps in sickness benefit coverage, leaving large numbers of workers, such as self-employed workers and workers in non-standard employment, without paid sick leave. This constitutes a critical challenge for public health and income security, as workers who cannot rely on sickness benefits and/or paid sick leave entitlements may feel forced to report to work while sick or may be reluctant to self-isolate, thereby potentially passing on the virus to colleagues and clients. This is particularly urgent, as it proved to affect many workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis (health workers, cleaners, transport and delivery workers and domestic workers, etc.).

The round table built on country experiences to highlight the key elements that supported effective response by existing systems, and in particular the importance of strong institutions and entitlements embedded in the legal framework. It also provided an opportunity to discuss persisting gaps in social health protection coverage. Drawing some lessons learned from immediate measures countries took to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, the round table aimed at shedding light on ways to progressively build more resilient systems.

avatar for Luis Frota

Luis Frota

Chief Technical Advisor, International Labour Organization (ILO)
Mr Luis Frota is the manager of EU-China project -Improving China’s institutional capacity towards universal social protection implemented by the International Labour Office in Beijing in partnership with MOHRSS, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social security and China Social... Read More →

avatar for Knut Lönnroth

Knut Lönnroth

Professor of Social Medicine, Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet Stockholm
Dr Knut Lönnroth is a professor of Social Medicine at the Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden, where he is also the director of the Centre for Tuberculosis (TB) Research, the WHO Collaboration Centre on TB and Social Determinants, and the... Read More →
avatar for Marielle Phe Goursat

Marielle Phe Goursat

Chief Technical Advisor, International Labour Organization (ILO)
Marielle Phe Goursat is the ILO Chief Technical Advisor on Social Health protection in Viet Nam, Myanmar and Laos. She has more than 15 years of experience in Sub Saharan Africa and South East Asia in supporting Government, social security institutions, employers organizations and... Read More →
avatar for Dr Hee Chung Kang

Dr Hee Chung Kang

Research Fellow, Korean Institute for Health and Social Affairs
Hee-Chung Kang is a research fellow in the Health Care Policy Research Department of the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs (KIHASA). From 2015 to 2018, she served as Director of Social Insurance Research Department. KIHASA is a national think tank that improves the quality... Read More →
avatar for Sambo Pheakday

Sambo Pheakday

General Secretariat to the National Social Protection Council of Cambodia
Mr Pheakdey Sambo is the Deputy Secretary-General of the National Social Protection Council, the inter-ministerial body that oversees the establishment of Cambodia's social protections system. He holds an MBA in Finance.
avatar for Nguyen Khanh Phuong

Nguyen Khanh Phuong

ice-Director of  the Health Strategy and Policy Institute, Ministry of Health, Vietnam
Dr. Nguyen Khanh Phuong is currently Vice-Director of the Health Strategy and Policy Institute, Ministry of Health. She has served in the institute for more than 20 years and devoted her entire career to the healthcare sector in Vietnam. Dr. Phuong is viewed as a leading health economist... Read More →

Tuesday October 6, 2020 1:00am - 2:00am GMT-03
  Thematic Round-tables