Cooperatives favour the spreading of universal health coverage, the WHO’s number one goal


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Cooperatives favour the spreading of universal health coverage, the WHO’s number one goal

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has chosen universal health coverage as the central goal of its campaign for World Health Day 2019

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The Espriu Foundation highlights the role of health cooperatives as a way to contribute to universal access to healthcare, this year’s core goal for the World Health Organisation (WHO).

As in past years, the WHO stresses the importance of achieving universal health coverage and has chosen this as the core goal of its campaign for World Health Day 2019, celebrated on Sunday, 7 April. The WHO has announced it will be focusing on equity and solidarity, with the theme “Universal health coverage: everyone, everywhere” and the slogan “Health for all”.

The WHO reminds us that universal health coverage means everybody has access to quality health services when and where they need them, without financial hardship.

Taking into account the list of the ten main threats to global health in 2019, created by the WHO and World Index, including noncommunicable diseases and the lack of resources in primary healthcare, health cooperatives can be seen as a tool for working with public health systems, freeing up resources and contributing to sustainability.

In the words of the Director General of the Espriu Foundation and President of the International Health Cooperative Organisation (IHCO), Carlos Zarco: “The WHO points out that the factors with which we need to make universal health coverage a reality include skilled healthcare professionals to provide quality, people-centred healthcare. And in fact, this is one of the distinguishing features of health cooperatives: they provide quality care and make people the centre of their work”.

Given the WHO’s statistic that at least half the worldwide population does not receive the health services it needs, Zarco remarks on “the ability of health cooperatives to adapt to the different settings where they work” and that “there are 100 million households around the world that have access to health services thanks to cooperatives”. In Spain, the institutions making up the Espriu Foundation - Autogestió Sanitària, Lavínia, Scias and Asisa - care for nearly 2.3 million people.


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