UN acknowledges the role of health cooperatives

The role of cooperatives in health provision is given special attention at the United Nations, as the Secretary-General submitted the report «Cooperatives in social development» to the 74th session of the General Assembly.

The report acknowledged that «health cooperatives have been serving their members and their communities in various forms for the past two centuries, even in countries with robust universal public health systems». In addition, it underlined that health cooperatives «aim to engage all stakeholders, to jointly manage costs and risks and to achieve the utmost quality in care provision» and «have demonstrated their capacity to adapt to new socio-economic contexts and to continue to serve the evolving health needs of populations»

The success in achieving Universal Health Coverage is close related to the efficient implementation of healthcare. It means making good decisions on spending. But also, as healthcare is a labour-intensive industry, doctors, nurses and other health professionals, can make a big difference.

Cooperatives have an advantage, as much of the surplus income they generate is reinvested in their operations. The UN’s document stated that «cooperatives represent an enterprise model that competes in the marketplace like any other private provider but does not need to pay returns to its shareholders, thereby fostering sustainability». It also highlights the ability of cooperatives to adapt to very different healthcare systems because their governance model is focused on the pursuit of solutions to the needs of people and of society at large.

Read the full report «Cooperatives in social development»