NHC, the largest health co-operative in Australia, joins the IHCO

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25.10.2016 to 30.01.2018

NHC, the largest health co-operative in Australia, joins the IHCO

Coinciding with the International Summit of Co-operatives, the IHCO held a gathering in Quebec at which it welcomed Australia’s largest co-operative health organisation as a member.

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The representatives of the bodies belonging to the International Health Co-operative Organisation, the IHCO, met on 11 October in the city of Quebec, Canada. The gathering, which took place within the context of the International Summit of Co-operatives, served to welcome a new member organisation, the National Health Co-operative of Australia, and its representatives Adrian Watts and Blake Wilson.

This new member is a not-for-profit consumer co-operative established to provide affordable and accessible medical and health services for the local community where it operates. Its aim is the proactive partnership of members and doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers and educators, to form a comprehensive healthcare team. It is the largest health co-operative in Australia, and the most significant provider of primary healthcare in the Canberra region.

Impact of co-operatives

At the meeting, President José Carlos Guisado, who sadly passed away a few days later, emphasised a number of the initiatives and activities recently undertaken by the sectoral health organisation. He emphasised in particular the study being developed by the IHCO, in partnership with the Euricse institute, to ascertain how health co-operatives contribute to improving the well-being of the countries where they operate, and what impact they have on public health.

The aim of the project is to identify the main organisational forms of co-operatives within the health sector, and understand how they relate to national systems. It likewise seeks to establish recommendations for the design of efficient and inclusive social policy. Running over a timeframe of five years, the project will be supervised by a scientific committee, with plans for the presentation of the initial results at the General Assembly of the IHCO to be staged in Kuala Lumpur in 2017.

The meeting was also attended by representatives from Canada, Japan, Argentina, Italy, Brazil and Spain, who gave an account of the initiatives and activities undertaken in their countries and at their own organisations over the recent period.

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