“There are clear parallels between Unimed and the Espriu Foundation, perhaps because the driving force behind the creation of both institutions is essentially the same”. Those were the opening words delivered by Dr. José Carlos Guisado, President of the International Health Co-operatives Organisation in the address he gave on 13 September at the 42nd National Convention of Unimed do Brasil.
During his speech, entitled “Health Co-operatives Around the World”, IHCO’s president dealt with the current situation of health co-operatives from different perspectives, in accordance with their profile and the socio-economic, legislative and political contexts within which they operate. He likewise set out a detailed analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the co-operative health model in its various forms, along with a summary of key experiences worldwide.
In discussing Brazilian Unimed model, Dr. Guisado stressed that “it is based on a social service vocation and the practice of quality, satisfactory medicine for both professionals and users”.
Under the slogan “Maturity, Transformation and Future Construction”, the convention, staged between 10 and 14 September on the south-east Brazilian island of Florianopolis, brought together more than 1700 co-operative members who took part in the range of seminars and round tables discussing various aspects of the administration of Unimed health cooperatives and health plans. The event served to reassert the dedication of the health co-operative to stimulating debate among its leaders.
Unimed Brazil is the largest private healthcare network in the country, with a presence across 83% of the nation. Founded in 1967, it currently comprises 371 co-operatives made up of 110,000 doctors providing health services to more than 17 million users and 73,000 companies.