The international contribution of the healthcare model created by Dr Josep Espriu

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25.10.2018

The international contribution of the healthcare model created by Dr Josep Espriu

After he had developed his model for social medicine and had launched the network of cooperatives that put it into practice, Dr Josep Espriu wanted to export the benefits of co-operative healthcare. However, he recognised the need for it to adapt to the individual circumstances of each country so he set off on a busy international schedule. He achieved many great successes including the creation of the International Health Co-operative Organisation (IHCO) which represented the health sector within the International Co-operative Alliance.

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The Co-operative Health Report 2018 was published early this year. It documents the status of co-operative healthcare worldwide and shows that co-operatives are a reality in the health systems of many countries, albeit in different forms, but always with one shared goal: to improve people’s health and to assist health professionals in their work.

According to figures from the International Health Co-operative Organisation (IHCO) and the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA), nearly 100 million households worldwide enjoy access to healthcare thanks to health co-operatives. This business model is now operating in the health systems of 76 countries with a total of over 3,300 health co-operatives which generate an overall turnover in excess of 15 billion dollars. These figures include organisations with highly diverse origins and structures such as doctors’ co-operatives, co-operatives that manage hospitals and healthcare facilities, institutions dedicated to prevention, to health promotion and to professional and patient training. They also include co-operatives dedicated to the distribution of pharmaceutical products or those handling health insurance.

Many of these initiatives are firmly established and have a long track record, sometimes dating back on to the 19th century. Some of them, as in the case of the Espriu Foundation organisations, have also acted as an example for more recent ventures.

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