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SNV Netherlands Development Organisation is providing technical support to an innovative pilot project that aims to cover the cost of health care services for at least 20,000 garment workers in return for a very affordable premium.

Gonoshasthaya Kendra (GK), a Bangladeshi healthcare service provider, is implementing the Social Health Insurance Scheme with financial support from Weave our Future (WoF), a foundation of Auchan, one of the largest French Retail Chains. The project’s mandate is to bring 20,000 RMG workers under an affordable health insurance coverage during a four-year period from June 2017 to May 2021.

Under this health insurance scheme, a beneficiary can avail health care facilities of up to BDT 25,000 at selected health care centers by paying an annual premium of only BDT 600. This scheme also offers access to 24-hour hospital services, pharmacy and ambulance facilities.

In Bangladesh’s garment industry, the workers mostly seek their health services for general illnesses such as fever, diarrhoea, colds, and for some non-communicable diseases, by purchasing over-the-counter medicines. Major reasons for not taking treatment are the cost, time constraints and most importantly, not having onsite health facilities. Besides, most factories do not have any medical doctors or nurses to care for their staff, nor are they linked with any healthcare program of the government or non-government organisations. In these contexts, the overall objective of the project is to make health services available, accessible and affordable for the workers and thus improve their health status and productivity.

Drawing on its vast experience in developing locally-led solutions to face development challenges, SNV led the design, development and fine-tuning of the insurance scheme to help the project deliver the maximum impact. SNV also uses its expertise for long-term partnership building with factories and management as well as capacity building, project management and mentoring support to GK for smooth implementation of the insurance scheme. Research, Training and Management (RTM) International is the monitoring partner of the project.

Key facts



To make healthcare more affordable and accessible for garment workers


To build the capacity of service providers on comprehensive healthcare services for workers


To improve the health status and productivity of RMG workers in partner factories

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