Birth of a New Specialised Body for Health

    This document has been made available in electronic format
         by the International Co-operative Alliance ICA 
                         July, 1996

Source : Review of International Co-operation Vol.89, No
1/1996, 73-75.

          Birth of a New Specialised Body for Health
                    by Gabriella Sozanski*

Second International Co-op Health and Social Care Forum
The 2nd International Co-operative Health and Social Care
Forum was held in Manchester as part of  the ICA Centennial
Congress meetings on 18 September 1995. 117 representatives
and observers of co-operatives and mutual organisations coming
from 24 countries and providing health and social care
services attended the Forum. The United Nations Department for
Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development  as well as
the World Health Organization  provided valuable support to
the meeting. Their representatives, Michael Stubbs, from the
UN, and Chandra Mouli, from WHO, participated  in the
deliberations and their papers were distributed among the

The 2nd Forum was a follow-up of the First International Forum
held during the 30th ICA Congress in Tokyo, in October 1992,
and of the meetings organized in several ICA regions on
co-operative health and social care services.

Speakers from Asia, Africa, America and Europe presented 
their experiences gained in the health co-operative sector and
other participants introduced national or sectoral case

The Forum contributed to a better understanding of the
diverging situation in the health co-operative sector
worldwide,  facilitated an exchange of experiences between
representatives of various organisations involved in the
provision of medical services, and contributed also to
defining the conditions for the creation of a new ICA
specialised body for the health and social care sector.

A summary of findings and recommendations for action were
drawn up as a conclusion of the final panel discussion and was
presented to the ICA General Assembly on 23rd September.

There was an unanimous agreement in principle on the creation
of a new ICA specialised body for the co-operative health and
social care sector. An Interim Steering Committee comprised of
representatives from each ICA Region was set up. It was agreed
to make an analysis and prepare a background study on the
establishment of a new specialised body to be submitted to the
following  ICA Board meeting in June 1996.

Representatives of the health co-operative movements present
at the Forum nominated the regional co-ordinators of the
Interim Steering Committee and agreed on the work plan of the

The Steering Committee is composed of:  Dr. S.Kato, Medical
Co-op Committee of JCCU, Japan - Chairman and representative
of the Asian region; Dr. Arnaldo Silvestre Mallmann, Director
of UNIMED, Brazil - representative of the American Region and
Dr. Francisco Carre¤o, Vice-President of  Fundaci˘n Espriu,
Spain - representative of Europe.

The  ICA Head Office, Geneva will provide the secretarial
services for the Committee.

Regional Co-ordinators Meet
Role of the IHCO:

The regional co-ordinators met in Geneva on 29-30 January 1996
to discuss the provisions of the draft Rules. It was agreed
that the role of the ICA International Health Co-operative
Organisation (IHCO) should be to serve as a forum for consumer
and producer health co-operatives which seek to provide
high-quality, cost-effective community health care  based on
freedom of choice, integration of services, and ethical
working conditions. 

The objectives of IHCO would include the following:

-    to provide a forum for the discussion and exchange of
     information on issues of relevance to its member

-    to provide information to United National bodies, to
     national governments, to the media and to public opinion
     about the nature and role of health co-operatives.

-    to promote the development of health co-operatives.

-    to collaborate with other specialised bodies of the ICA.

Membership would be open to co-operative organisations which
are affiliated either directly or indirectly to the ICA and
have as their main or partial objective the provision of
health care to their members or the provision of
self-employment for health professionals. Educational and
research institutions which promote health co-operatives or
related services and which are direct or indirect members of
ICA would also be eligible for membership. Associate
membership status would be available, upon decision of the
Board, for co-operatives which are non-members of ICA but
whose activities are devoted to the provision of health
services. Associate members could attend the general meeting
without voting right.

Members and associate members should normally be national or
regional organisations, except in countries where these
structures do not exist.

Each member organisation should be entitled to one delegate
with one voting right.

Discussion in the January meeting  focused essentially on how
to guarantee the best balance of power between the various ICA
regions and a good representation of the typical health
co-operatives which are basically either consumer or producer
type co-operatives. The ICA Secretariat was requested to draft
the new Rules based on the two texts proposed and the
discussions of the meeting. 

Future Plans
The Chairman of the Steering Committee will be invited to the
meeting of the ICA Specialised Bodies to be held 25-26 April
1996 in Geneva. Immediately afterwards the Steering Committee
will meet in Barcelone to finalise the Rules to be submitted
to the ICA Board and agree on the Work Programme of the

After the ICA Board meeting potential member organisations,
participants of the Forum will be contacted and properly
informed about the decision.

* Ms Sozanski is the Programme Officer for ICA Europe.