Japanese Health Co-operatives Federation a new IHCO member


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Japanese Health Co-operatives Federation a new IHCO member

The Japanese Federation of Health and Welfare Co-operatives, HeW Coop Japan, which has been in operation since October 2010, is the new institution representing the Japanese health co-operative movement within the IHCO, the International Health Co-operatives Organisation.

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The new federation, chaired by Dr. Yasuyuki Takahashi, is a co-operative organisation grouping together and serving Japanese co-operatives engaged in the provision of medical and health care services, providing nursing care home and aged people care or administering any kind of health care facility, such as hospitals, primary care clinics and rehabilitation facilities.

During its first year in operation the federation has successfully brought together 115 co-operatives, representing more than 2,710,000 members. It has 78 hospitals, with an overall capacity of 12,500 beds, and more than 900 facilities ranging from primary care clinics to dentistry practices, rehabilitation centres, etc.

Co-operative legislation in Japan demands that co-operatives perform the bulk of their economic operations exclusively among their members, placing almost complete restrictions on access to the non-member market. There is, however, a certain margin for co-operative action within the health sector, as the law allows services to be used by third-party non-members up to a limit equivalent to one half of the co-operative’s turnover. HeW Coop Japan has nonetheless been engaged in an intense campaign to convince health service users of the benefits of co-operative membership, persuading 80% of health co-operative users to become members and take part in the organisation’s daily affairs.

This membership success is largely the result of numerous initiatives organised by the federation focusing on its grassroots members, above all addressing prevention and health promotion and the involvement of volunteers in charitable programmes.

Particular mention should also be made of other federation actions including those focusing on the corporate administration of co-operatives, such as training programmes for co-operative staff, support and consultancy on management systems and coordination among associate co-operatives for the joint purchasing of medical and pharmaceutical materials.

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