In Pakistan, the International Labor Organisation estimates that almost 20% of children aged 5 to 17 were involved in child labor in 2012 – a total of 12.5 million children. One of the reasons for child labour is the low coverage of health insurance in Pakistan: when a parent becomes sick, or passes away, it is common for one or several children of the family to drop out of school and start working to compensate for the loss of parental income and provide for their family.
Our team at C4ED helped the Pakistani NGO National Rural Support Programme (NRSP) evaluate the impact of offering an innovative health and accident insurance package to households in Hyderabad, Pakistan. Together with increased insurance coverage, a microfinance institution offered assistance with claim procedures in treatment branches.
We compared panel survey responses from more than 2000 households of randomly selected control and treatment groups. We found:
- a significant drop in overall child labor by 3.4 percentage points, and a drop in hazardous occupations, (e.g. brick & glass bangles making, surgical instruments manufacturing, carpet weaving) by 4.6 percentage points
- a reduction in average number of hours worked by children (1.8 hours per week)
- a significant increase in coverage and use of health insurance
On the basis of C4ED’s above evaluation results, NRSP now is expanding this program to 500 villages in Pakistan in order to improve the livelihoods of children and families throughout the country.