(Source: ICA Review, Vol.91 No.2 - Annual Report 1997-1998, pp. 55-56)
INTERNATIONAL HEALTH CO-OPERATIVE ORGANISATION (IHCO)
Chairman: Shoji Kato (Japan)
Vice-Chairmen: Edmundo Castilho (Brazil); Francisco Carreño (Spain)
Secretary: Mats Ahnlund (ICA)
Members: Per-Olf Jönson (Sweden); Ismael Roldán (Colombia);
Vacancy from Asia and the Pacific region
The Chairman, two Vice-Chairmen and three Board members are elected from each of the following regions. Asia and the Pacific, the Americas and Europe. They also represent user-owned, producer-owned and integrated co-operatives.
The 2nd IHCO General Meeting was held in Geneva in September 1997. The GM managed to play an active role to solve some problems we had since the Founding Meeting. IHCO consists of ten member organizations and some other organizations are expected to join us.
IHCO Regional Meetings have already been formed in those three Regions. They actively promote international and domestic exchange with other organizations and organizational development.
For example, the Asia and Pacific region provides support to some organizations in Nepal and Mongolia to transform into co-operatives. However, we could make little contact with the African region. Setting up IHCO Africa as soon as possible is one of our future goals and we must contact the ICA Regional Office in Africa and encourage health co-operatives in their region to forward the idea.
The revision of Rules and Subscription Formula was discussed at the fifth IHCO Board meeting in Malaga in April 1998, and furthermore regional structure was one of main topics for the meeting. As a result, we decided to organize a working group for “how the regional structure should be”. The group will prepare a report which clarifies principles of Regional Meetings, at the same time, make IHCO membership more open and find out the way to avoid unreasonable organizational administration. If the report is approved by the Board, it will submit it to the next GM. There are four members in the group: Jönson and Roldon from the Board, Mats Ahnlund, Secretary, and Robby Tulus, Regional Director of ICA ROAP.
IHCO issues a newsletter twice a year and has decided on an original logotype. A newsletter is sent to members of IHCO, to Regional Meetings and to the related organizations of ICA. We are also co-financing a video news release (VNR) about health co-operatives, produced by World Television, UK, under the direction of the ICA Communications Department. This is a follow-up to the first video which was about agricultural co-ops in Africa.
IHCO has worked to establish a close relationship with ICA, other NGOs and particularly WHO since its establishment. This policy is officially approved by the Board. We were invited by WHO to attend the 4th International Conference on Health Promotion in Jakarta in July 1997 and IHCO appealed to the participants. We hope that IHCO will become an important partner of WHO in the international health promotion activity. We also have a joint programme with WHO's Aging unit for the International Year of the Elderly, 1999. This programme was offered to the Health Co-operative Association of JCCU, however, we believe the partner should be IHCO itself. We also had several meetings with the ILO's Department of co-operative development.
IHCO was formed in November 1996 and has become well organized in such a short period. This is because of the serious anxiety caused by the fact that social security has failed at the global level and commercialisation has entered into the health and welfare field. Co-operatives, as non-profit organizations, must be the most effective and ethical organizations to solve these problems. However, IHCO needs to be strengthened by increasing the number of members. Meanwhile activities should be devoted to the co-operative identity.