International Health Co-op Organization (IHCO)(1997)

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This document has been made available in electronic format
by the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA)
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July, 1997
(Source: ICA Review, Vol.90 No.2 - Annual Report 1996-1997, pp.45-46)


International Health Co-operative Organisation 1996/1997(IHCO)
Report by Shoji Kato/	Mats Ahnlund
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Executive Committee
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President: 	Dr. Shoji Kato (Japan, Chairman of Medical Co-op 
Committee of JCCU)
Vice-President: 	Dr. Edmundo Castilho (Brazil, President of Unimed)
Vice-President: 	Dr. Francisco Carreno (Spain, President of Espriu Foundation)
Secretary: 	Mats Ahnlund (ICA)

The International Health Co-operative Organisation was founded in 
Costa Rica on November 21, 1996. It is the newest specialised body of 
the ICA in the co-operative health sector. First of all, we wish to express
our appreciation to Graham Melmoth, President of the ICA and all others involved. 

The Way to Foundation
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The international exchange of health co-operatives began at the first 
International Health-Medical Co-op Forum held during the 30th ICA 
Congress in Tokyo in 1992. By the time the second International Co-operative
Health and Social Care Forum was held September 18, 1995 as part of the ICA 
Centennial Congress meetings, the establishment of the IHCO was anticipated
in Europe and South America, as well as the ICA. 

We held three unofficial meetings in Geneva, Seville and Prague to prepare for 
the second forum and we finally made a plan to propose the establishment of 
the IHCO. The main participants of the meetings were representatives from 
Sweden, Spain, Brazil and Japan. 

At the second forum, all the participants agreed to establish the IHCO 
and the three present executives were elected as an Interim Steering 
Committee. The secretary at that time was Mr. Arsenio Invernizzi of the ICA.

The Interim Steering Committee worked quickly and presented the necessary 
documents to the Board of the ICA. The plan was approved by all of the 
members at the Board Meeting in Beijing, China on April 10, 1996. 
Many found the structure of the IHCO interesting, as the leaders represented 
three different kinds of co-ops; user-owned, provider-owned and integrated. 

Because the IHCO was just recently founded, there are still many problems. 
The three organisations of the Interim Steering Committee participated in 
the meeting, as well as nine other organisations interested in becoming members. 
However, their entry to the IHCO was delayed.  We plan to strengthen the board 
of directors and the organisation itself by increasing the number of the members, responding positively to requests from social care co-operatives by making a consensus to accept them into membership.  As we emphasized in the action plan, it is necessary to establish meetings in all ICA regions. 

General Meetings
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The second General Meeting will be held on September 13, 1997 based 
on the rule that the General Meetings of the IHCO and the ICA coincide. 
The third Board Meeting will be held in June. We expect that after the 
second General Meeting the IHCO will be better organised. 

Other Activities
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The IHCO has already made contacts with the ILO and the WHO. 
The division of health promotion of the WHO invited us to attend a 
health promotion meeting held in Jakarta. There was also a request 
from the Department on Aging and Health of the WHO to co-operate in
an event for the International Year of the Elderly, 1999. During our 
discussions with the WHO, it was pointed out that citizen participation in 
health promotion is the key to success.  This is an important value of health
co-operatives.