GENEVA, March 12 (Xinhua) -- More than half of the world's population lacks access to essential health care, while only 29 percent have comprehensive social security coverage, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said Tuesday in a new report.
Globally, only 68 percent of people of retirement age receive some form of pension and in many low-income countries, this drops to just 20 percent.
Fewer than 60 percent of countries reported that they had schemes or benefits to ensure income security for children.
"Social protection is proven to be good for societies and economies. The ILO stands ready to help countries address any remaining obstacles on the road to achieving sufficient social protection for all," said Emmanuelle St-Pierre Guilbault, an ILO legal specialist.
The findings come in the General Survey 2019, compiled by the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR), under the title "Universal social protection for human dignity, social justice, and sustainable development".
The survey aims to encourage higher levels of protection for as many people as possible, as soon as possible.
It found that while many high- and middle-income countries have achieved universal health coverage, in many nations the population only has access to certain components of health care.
The central deficits in essential health care access relate to the underfunding of health protection, shortages of health workers and high rates of out-of-pocket payments.
The deficit increases the risk of impoverishment and financial hardship which occurs in all regions of the world.
The report called for basic income security and essential healthcare guarantees from childhood to old age.
More efforts are needed to establish universal health coverage in both law and practice, including the reallocation of budgets and an increase in the number of health workers, said the report.