Health cooperatives on the United Nations agenda


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Health cooperatives on the United Nations agenda

The UN Assembly has recognised the substantial role that cooperatives could play in extending access to health, recommending that governments support this sustainable enterprise model which makes a direct contribution to Universal Health Coverage.

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The agenda of the 74th General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) included a motion connected with the role of cooperatives in social development.

The motion, based on a report by the Secretary-General, places particular emphasis on the contribution made by cooperatives to Universal Health Coverage, acknowledging that for almost two centuries now this form of enterprise has been involved in providing healthcare in a great many different ways, including in countries with well-established universal public health systems.

The international body's document specifically refers to the Espriu Foundation as «a strategic alliance of cooperatives made up of professionals and users, managing hospitals, insurance companies and a network of complementary companies to meet the healthcare needs of 2.23 million in Spain» (by 2018 the figure was more than 2.5 million).

The report likewise highlights the non-for-profit characteristic of the organisations that make up the Espriu Foundation, as they «each year reinvest the profits they generate in improving the quality of services and technological innovation to guarantee the sustainability of their businesses».

The UN Secretary-General likewise highlighted the flexibility and capacity for adaptation of healthcare cooperatives in accordance with the needs they aim to address, citing as an example the SCIAS cooperative, one of the members of the Espriu Foundation, which manages the Hospital de Barcelona and includes both healthcare professionals and users within its membership.

The motion lastly recommends that the governments of the member states should support cooperatives as sustainable commercial enterprises making a direct contribution to universal health coverage, and examine the legislation in force in order to provide a national legal and regulatory framework better suited to the creation and growth of cooperatives, in particular with regard to access to capital, autonomy, competitiveness and taxation.

The full report can be downloaded via this link.

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