The Rochdale Pioneers Award has this year been posthumously awarded to Dr José Carlos Guisado.
Dr Guisado, who was president of the International Health Co-operative Organisation (IHCO) for 15 years, died on 14 October last year, while attending the International Summit of Co-operatives in Québec City. He was 61.
IHCO is a sectoral organisation of the International Co-operative Alliance that represents and provides a forum for discussion about health co-operatives. It allows people to share information about the sector and promote its development of health co-operatives.
Dr Guisado took his medical training at the university hospital in Seville and at University College Hospital in London.
He was involved in the health co-operative movement for more than 34 years; he was appointed the general secretary of the European branch of IHCO in 1998 and chair of IHCO in 2001.
He was also a director of the Spanish Business Confederation of Social Economy (CEPES) and chief executive of Fundacion Espriu of Spain, which provides health services to over two million people and employs 32,500 health professionals.
He joined the board of the Alliance in 2013, after being nominated by the Sectoral Organisation Liaison Group.
The award aims to recognise, in the spirit of the Rochdale Pioneers, an individual or an organisation that has made an outstanding contribution to the global co-operative movement.
It was presented by Monique Leroux, president of the Alliance, who said: “His personal convictions led him to the co-op movement whose values he bore tirelessly and consistently,
“He belonged to that category of human beings who are an inspiration to all the work that we do.”
The reward was received by Dr Guisado’s wife and sons, and his friend and former colleague Dr Carlos Zarco, director general of Fundacion Espriu.
Dr Zarco said: “I was lucky when I knew him 20 years ago, he chose me to help him manage a hospital as his deputy. He became the best teacher I ever had, and he gave me his faithful friendship to the end of his days.
“He was always thinking about how to improve healthcare co-operatives, and to improve healthcare. I believe that if he could see us today he would be smiling upon us, extremely pleased and grateful.”
Previous Rochdale Pioneers Award winners
- 2001: Dr Verghese Kurien (India)
- 2003: Francisco Luis Jiménez Arcila (Colombia) and Lloyd Wilkinson (United Kingdom)
- 2005: Hans Dahlberg (Sweden), Ian MacPherson (Canada) and Yehudah Paz (Israel)
- 2007: Esther Gicheru (Kenya), Prof. Ungku Abdul Aziz (Malaysia) and Francisco Ceballo Herrero, (Spain)
- 2009: Ivano Barberini (Italy), former president of the Alliance
- 2012: Roberto Rodrigues (Brazil)
- 2013: Plunkett Foundation (UK and Ireland)
- 2015: Dame Pauline Green (UK), former president of the Alliance