BAMAKO (ILO News) - In an effort to help boost the development of mutual health organizations in Africa, the ILO and a wide range of partners are lending support to the third forum of the "Coordination Network" of Mutual Health Organizations to be held in Bamako, Mali, from 17-19 November 2004. The forum will focus on the development of mutual health organizations (MHOs), engaged in improving quality of and access to health care.
In Sub-Saharan African countries, where up to 90 per cent of working people are engaged in informal employment lacking even the most basic social protection, communities of poor people have been banding together to create micro health insurance schemes to address basic needs for health security. In order to support these schemes, the ILO has worked with partner organizations to link them together into a broad network, enabling them to exchange practical knowledge and to deal more effectively with health providers, support organizations, public services and donors.
The resulting "Coordination Network" constitutes an innovative partnership between the main actors involved in the development of African mutual health organizations. The Network brings together more than 150 organizations from eleven countries in French-speaking Africa, international development agencies and the ILO.
This year's forum in Bamako will facilitate the exchange of experiences and information between the various actors, identify best practices for the development of MHOs, and define a plan of action for the "Coordination Network".
The meeting will gather some 400 people from 25 countries, representing mutual health organizations, international organizations, governments, social partners, research institutes and other actors involved in the development of MHOs.
The "Coordination network" is an illustration of a successful partnership supported by the ILO in the framework of its Global Campaign on Social Security and Coverage for All. The network was set up by the ILO STEP (Strategies and Tools against social Exclusion and Poverty) program in 1999.