After three days of debates and reflection, the cooperatives that attended the 2016 International Summit of Cooperatives agreed on a preliminary declaration about their capacity to act in the social, environmental and economic spheres.
Regarding the access to health care and social services, cooperatives and mutuals made the following statements:
Whereas health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being;
Whereas 400 million people do not have access to essential health care services, and 6% of the inhabitants of low or intermediate income countries live in extreme poverty due to their health care expenses;
Whereas improving health and well-being largely depends on efforts to implement universal health-care coverage, which many countries still do not have;
Whereas even in developed countries people sometimes do not have access to health care and social services for different reasons, including an inadequate geographic distribution of doctors and health care centres and services, to the detriment of remote areas or disadvantaged urban areas;
Whereas in many countries population growth or ageing complicate access to health care services;
Whereas cooperatives and mutuals are in a position to implement practical and original solutions for handling many of the challenges related to improving access to health care and social services; and
Whereas cooperatives directly contribute to the achievement of Goal 3 (Good health), as well as Goal 1 (No poverty) and Goal 10 (Reduced inequalities) of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development;
Cooperatives, therefore, undertake to contribute to better access to health care and social services by:
- protecting people against financial risks related to health care and social services, including the purchase of medication;
- improving the geographic distribution of health care and social services to the benefit of remote areas and disadvantaged urban areas;
- making available the full range of health care and social services to vulnerable and marginalised populations;
- enabling communities to take charge of the prevention, health care and social services that they need, and to develop an integrated person-centred approach;
- fostering the ability of seniors and persons who are losing their autonomy to remain in their homes; and
- working with governments and supporting non-governmental partners to improve health care for women and girls, who are often deprived of the most elementary care and who are at the greatest risk.