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aid for aid workers

8 june 2017

Emergency situations and hostile environments can be an everyday experience for workers of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Intergovernmental Organisations (IGOs).


Some facts & figures

  • 366 deaths and 468 injuries were caused by attacks against health care workers in the first three quarters of 2016 alone. (World Health Organization)
  • In war-torn countries, such as Syria and Yemen, aid workers’ lives are in danger from hospital bombings, kidnapping and other violence.
  • 5-fold increase in significant attacks on aid workers between 2000 and 2015.*
  • 79% of respondents have experienced mental health issues, and 93% believe that these issues are related to their work.**

However, research by Cigna NGO Health Benefits and CHS Alliance in 2013 showed that while nearly 70% of international NGOs offer health insurance to their employees, only half offers it to volunteers. In addition, two-thirds of NGOs don’t offer health insurance for their local and national staff.

Aid workers are becoming increasingly concerned about whether their employers are providing adequate duty of care. Last year, an international petition was raised to – unsuccessfully  have this issue included as a key topic at the inaugural World Humanitarian Summit.


How Cigna can help

At Cigna, we believe in taking care of those who care for others. Cigna’s CoverN’GO is a flexible insurance product for NGOs where they can build a tailor-made plan for their specific needs. CoverN’Go is also available for key local and third-country national employees based in Africa.

In addition to access to our international medical network of over 1 million health care professionals, we provide local support in remote regions with a network of over 180 MDs in 100 countries consulting our International Medical Board of 30 employed MDs and nurses on all continents. Cigna provides support in many perceived high-risk areas, such as Bangladesh, Cameroon, Haiti and Colombia.

We also offer an International Employee Assistance Programme that provides clinical counselling, work-life services, and management support services over the phone or face-to-face.

Would you like to know how we can help your organisation care for aid workers? You can contact us by phone on +32 3 217 67 39 or with our online contact form.


*IRIN - formerly Integrated Regional Information Networks
**Survey conducted with 754 aid workers by the Global Development Professionals Network, run by the UK news organization The Guardian.