The delegates of the member organisations of the IHCO met on October 11, in Quebec City, Canada. Within the framework of the International Summit of Cooperatives 2016, IHCO welcomed as a new associated member organisation, Australia’s National Health Cooperative and their delegates Adrian Watts and Blake Wilson. The NHC is a not-for-profit consumer co-operative established to provide affordable and accessible medical and health services to the local community where it operates. This health co-operative uses a proactive and integrated partnership approach between the members and the doctors, nurses and other health providers and educators to form a comprehensive health care team. The NHC is Australia’s largest health co-operative and the largest provider of primary health care in the Canberra region.
IHCO president José Carlos Guisado, who unfortunately passed away few days after the meeting, highlighted some of the initiatives and activities recently developed by the health sectoral organisation. Particular interest was devoted to the research that IHCO is developing in collaboration with Euricse, to know how health cooperatives contribute to improving the welfare state of the countries in which they operate and what is the impact on the health of citizens. The project aims to identify the main organisational forms typical of the cooperatives from the health sector and to understand how they relate to national welfare systems. This analysis is also aimed at formulating recommendations for the design of efficient and inclusive social policies. The project, which lasts for five years, will be supervised by a scientific committee, and the first output is planned to be presented at the IHCO General Assembly in Kuala Lumpur.
Delegates from Canada, Japan, Argentina, Australia, Italy, Brazil and Spain also reported on key activities and initiatives developed in their organisations and countries.