International consultation on workers’ health coverage
Place: Semnan, Islamic Republic of Iran
Date: 28-30 April 2014
This three-day meeting focused on interventions, indicators and service delivery coinciding with the International Day for Health and Safety at Work and aimed to identify policy options, strategies, and mechanisms to scale up coverage of workers. The objective was to develop criteria and indicators for measuring the access of workers to interventions for prevention and control of occupational and work-related diseases and injuries. The meeting was also expected to draw an international road map and voluntary targets for scaling up coverage of workers with preventive health services.
Workers represent half the world’s population and are the major contributors to economic and social development. Yet, only 15% of workers worldwide have access to specialized occupational health services for advising employers and for providing assessment of occupational health risks, health surveillance, training in safe working methods, and first aid.
Universal health coverage cannot be complete if all working people, particularly in informal settings, small enterprises, rural, agricultural and migrant workers do not have access to the most needed health services to prevent occupational and work-related diseases and to maintain and promote their working capacity. This requires innovative ways of working across health and labour sectors as well as strengthening national and local capacities for integrated service delivery and planning. The consultation will contribute by developing a set of instruments and strategies to be used by countries in addressing the specific health needs of workers in moving towards universal health coverage.
Jointly organized by WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean (EMRO), the Ministry of Health and Medical Education of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Semnan University of Medical Sciences, the International Consultation brought together experts from ministries of health, international partners and stakeholders in the area of workers’ health, health systems, primary health care, NGO’s and the media.