The impact of health co-operatives goes beyond members

As well as benefiting their members, health co-operatives have an indirect impact on millions of people around the world, according to José Carlos Guisado, president of the International...

As well as benefiting their members, health co-operatives have an indirect impact on millions of people around the world, according to José Carlos Guisado, president of the International Co-operative Health Organisation (IHCO).

“In Spain health co-ops have 200,000 members but overall benefit two million people,” he said.

Mr Guisado joined health co-operative representatives from across the world for the organisation’s general assembly in Antalya, Turkey on 8 November. The meeting focused on IHCO’s agenda for 2016, particularly its role in hosting the Health Forum at the International Summit of Co-operatives in Quebec.

Presenting the annual report to members, Mr Guisado talked about IHCO’s campaign ‘Social needs, co-operative answers’, developed jointly with CICOPA, the International Organisation of Industrial and Service Co-operatives. Both sectoral organisations of the International Co-operative Alliance, IHCO and CICOPA signed a memorandum of understanding in 2013 to strengthen collaboration.

The campaign aimed to highlight the contribution of co-operatives in providing social and health services and featured a collection of videos that show the main global trends regarding co-operatives engaged in providing community services. As part of this joint initiative, CICOPA and IHCO have also launched website www.socialneedscooperativeanswers.coop, which includes case studies and news on co-operatives involved in the provision of health and social services.

In 2014 IHCO reported a total income of €54,868, of which €28,767 came from their reserves and €26,101 from the Alliance’s redistributions to its members. With expenditures of €6,090, the organisation ended last year with a balance of €48,777.

IHCO delegates attending the general assembly also discussed the issue of the redistribution of funds from the Alliance to its sectoral organsiations. In 2015, the total amount redistributed to the seven sectoral bodies was €221,069.

At its last meeting the Alliance’s governance committee agreed on a proposal for funding for 2016. This includes allocating 10% of the total subscription fees for the years for the activities of sectoral organisations, as it was the case in previous years. The proposal also mentions allocating 10% of each sectoral organsiation’s membership fee to the respective sectoral organisation as core funding. Other funding is also available for specific projects.

IHCO is currently looking at four projects for 2016: setting out a communications plan to increase awareness about health co-operatives, organising the health forum at the Summit, running an international campaign to make people aware of cardiovascular risks and conducting a study on reducing salt intake.

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