Health Care in LuxembourgLandlocked and located in Europe, the small country of Luxembourg features beautiful landscapes and diverse intercontinental ties. Amidst these features, health care in Luxembourg has been established so there is a plan for all citizens to access the needed tools to stay healthy.

The National Health Fund

Prior to 2008, Luxembourg retained separate health insurance in various sectors as well as the Union of Health Insurance Funds. However, in 2008, these separate institutions joined to create the National Health Fund.

The National Health Fund coordinates the health care system and social security provides funding. People apply for reimbursements for their medical bills after seeking medical care. In other instances, such as prescriptions or charges from the hospital, third parties provide insurance and coordinate directly with the National Health Fund. The individual pays for the remainder of the bill that insurance does not cover. Citizens additionally have the option of private insurance, often offered through employers.

COVID-19 Health Care Response

An evaluation of health care in Luxembourg must include an assessment of the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This crisis naturally tests the system’s response. Efforts to combat the pandemic included a task force, named Research Luxembourg, that coordinated communication of health information between various research institutions. The Luxembourg Institute of Health also focused on educating the public about ongoing research.

Similarly, Luxembourg remains a member of The Global Fund, which contributes to battling diseases such as AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria. During the pandemic, Luxembourg donated to the fund to lessen the impact of COVID-19 on already existing programs for AIDS, TB and malaria. Particularly important is the donation’s impact on low-income countries in fighting both COVID-19 and the organization’s prior infectious disease focuses.

Caritas Luxembourg works to reach vulnerable members of the community including youth, migrants and those without a home. During the COVID-19 pandemic, a group of nurses alongside others in the medical network created a program to provide hygiene and health care to Luxembourg’s homeless. These are individuals that might not have access to health care in Luxembourg in the traditional ways.

Current Efforts

Luxembourg fights poverty by making commitments to improve the health of mothers and adolescents. For example, the government offers a birth allowance that mothers apply for after the birth of their child. To receive the allowance, mothers must attend medical examinations for themselves and the child before and after birth.

Furthermore, Luxembourg is a key contributor to the World Health Organization (WHO), ranking seventh in the years 2020-2021. It is a supporter of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme and the Contingency Fund for Emergencies. Finally, Luxembourg provides funding for “Healthier Kosovo” in an endeavor to improve health issues related to air pollution in the environment.

International Health Cooperation

In addition to improvements to health care in Luxembourg, the country prioritizes health in other contexts. The Small Countries Initiative includes Luxembourg. The WHO created this group in 2013 between eight European countries to facilitate communication on reporting health information within their systems and to the public. The members periodically attend meetings to discuss the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Luxembourg also partnered with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the WHO to create a program for Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) in Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR). The program aims to improve the health of those listed in its title with the goal to reduce poverty within the country. The program began the third phase in 2022.

In addition to their partnership with Laos PDR, Luxembourg also partners with Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Mali, Niger and Senegal in the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Partnership, according to WHO.

Initiated in 2011, the UHC Partnership connects Luxembourg with a variety of global actors including the WHO, the European Union, Japan and Canada. The organization works to provide assistance in planning systems to facilitate access to health care. It ensures that people receive health care at both an individual and community level. Thus far, the partnership has impacted 115 countries. It also incorporated more than 120 advisors to engage in the dialogue necessary to implement these systems.

For example, in Rwanda, the addition of health posts improved access to health care by decreasing travel time from an average of 95 minutes to 47 minutes to receive services with future goals to further decrease this time.

Luxembourg continues to provide innovative solutions to domestic health care systems as well as improve health abroad. Its solutions contribute to progress in decreasing global poverty through the medium of health.

– Kaylee Messick
Photo: Flickr