The International Co-operative Health Organisation (IHCO) is assessing the possibility of creating a global knowledge platform to promote and support co-ops and mutuals in providing health services.
IHCO has partnered with the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Swiss Association of Support to Research, Learning and Health Centers (AS-CRES), and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), to explore the role of co-ops and mutuals in the healthcare sector in helping to attain Universal Health Coverage, particularly in low and middle income countries.
As part of this initiative, the ILO has launched an online survey seeking gain an understanding of the needs for such a global knowledge platform. The survey, which will be available until 15 April, is aimed at co-operatives and mutual associations working or willing to work in the health sector.
The role that co-operatives play in achieving universal health coverage was also the theme of an expert group meeting organised by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs in Nairobi.
Speaking at the event, IHCO president Carlos Zarco reflected on the advantages that co-operative enterprises have in the health sector and explained that improvements in healthcare provision could be reached if resources are pooled and health professionals enjoy better working conditions.
He said: “Co-operatives are good at combining workers’ skills and financial resources to respond to market failures in providing services that otherwise would be inaccessible”.
The meeting enabled experts to make policy recommendations about the role of co-operatives in the UN 2030 Agenda. These will be taken into account for a UN report on the issue concerning co-operatives in social development, which will be unveiled in 2019.