19 May
Covid19 ILO

ILO: The Covid-19 crisis has exposed devastating gaps in developing countries

The COVID-19 crisis has exposed devastating gaps in social protection coverage in developing countries.

The recovery will only be sustained and future crises prevented if they can transform their ad hoc crisis response measures into comprehensive social protection systems, according to new analysis from the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Two briefing papers released by the ILO warn that the current gaps in social protection could compromise recovery plans, expose millions to poverty, and affect global readiness to cope with similar crises in future.

The papers take a detailed look at the role of social protection measures in addressing the COVID-19 outbreak in developing countries, including the provision of sickness benefits during the crisis.

Social protection

The brief on Social protection responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in developing countries , describes social protection as, “an indispensable mechanism for delivering support to individuals during the crisis”.

It examines the response measures some countries have introduced, including removing financial barriers to quality health care, enhancing income security, reaching out to workers in the informal economy, protecting incomes and jobs, and improving the delivery of social protection, employment and other interventions.

According to data in the brief, 55 per cent of the world’s population – as many as four billion people – are not covered by social insurance or social assistance. Globally, only 20 per cent of unemployed people are covered by unemployment benefits, and in some regions the coverage is much lower.

Sickness benefits

The other Social Protection Spotlight brief covers Sickness benefits during sick leave and quarantine: Country responses and policy considerations in the context of COVID-19.

The brief calls for urgent, short-term measures to close sickness benefit coverage and adequacy gaps, pointing out that this would bring a three-fold benefit: support for public health, poverty prevention, and promotion of the human rights to health and social security.

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