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ILO And Kenyan Government Aim To Extend Social Security

The International Labor Organization, the ILO, and the Kenyan Government have launched a campaign to extend social security coverage in Kenya.

The ILO estimates that 80 percent of Kenya’s 30 million people lack social security and nearly 60 percent lack the ability to pay for basic health care. The problem is similar in many African countries. It also says poverty and HIV/AIDS threaten the financial health of social security systems in developing countries.

Among those attending today’s announcement in Nairobi is Assane Diop of Senegal, the ILO’s executive director for social protection. He spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about the state of Kenya’s social security system. He describes the coverage as “very low.”

Mr. Diop says, “I think it’s not a good thing nowadays regarding the problem of poverty and access to health care. So, the reason why we are here is to help mobilize politically and also the stakeholders to make sure that a good step will be done to develop better policies to reach the rest of the population, which represent more or less 90 percent of the population.”

He says the population must understand “they have the right and possibility to be covered by social security. Secondly, to make sure that the health system also is likely well strategized to allow access to the health care system.” The ILO official says the effort will also mobilize people through community-based organizations.