OTUWA laments lack of access to medicare for informal workers
The Organisation of Trade Unions of West Africa (OTUWA) has bemoaned lack of access to qualitative healthcare for workers in the informal sector.
In a report titled, ‘Survey findings on the accessibility of healthcare for informal sector workers in six West African states,’ OTUWA noted that the challenge of access to affordable and proper healthcare confronting workers in the informal sector and their families has continued to be an issue of concern.
Speaking at the presentation of the report in Abuja, the Executive Secretary of OTUWA, who is also a former General Secretary of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), John Odah, said most workers in the informal sector of the economy do not enjoy the benefits of social protection such as subsidised healthcare and health insurance schemes, which force them into out-of-pocket payment for their medical needs.
The survey, which was a collaborative effort in conjunction with the Solidarity Centre, Nigeria, carried out in Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, The Gambia, Liberia and Sierra Leone was aimed at accessing the availability of quality and affordable healthcare for workers in the informal sector.
Odah stressed that while the report cannot be said to be statistically significant, it serves as a conversation starter with unions that represent informal sector workers, national union federations, local and national governments, health ministries and regional bodies responsible for advancing development goals.
On his part, President of OTUWA, Mademba Sock, hinted that the survey was meant to also seek the direct opinion of the operators in the informal economy on what they think can be done in the future situation of public health emergency such as COVID-19 pandemic, adding, “and how the informal sector of the economic operators can have a voice in contributing ideas to government and other agencies/organisations working to ameliorate the situation for the citizens, as well as workers in the informal economy who have specific expectations based on their location in the service delivery and even production processes.”
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