Exploring the potential of cooperatives in advancing universal health coverage

Actualité | 28 novembre 2017
On 10 November 2017, as part of an initiative on research “Exploring the potential of cooperatives to advance Universal Health Coverage and Sustainable Development Goals in Cameroon and Kenya” a working session was organized at the ILO headquarter in Geneva. The objective of the meeting was to review the draft report prepared by the research team and to discuss next steps.

Funded by the ILO, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), NorWest Co-op Community Health and Federazione Sanità Confcooperative, this initiative aims at better understanding the strengths, weaknesses and potential of cooperatives, mutuals and other social and solidarity economy organizations (SSEOs) in advancing universal health coverage and sustainable development goals, especially Goal 3 on good health and well-being and Goal 8 on decent work and economic growth.

The working session brought together the project team members, research collaborators and officials of the ILO, World Health Organization (WHO), and the SDC among others. Following the introduction of the research project by Mr Jean-Pierre Girard, the project leader, case studies from Cameroon and Kenya were presented by national researchers. Preliminary findings suggest the potential of cooperative enterprises in the health sector but point out to the lack of health cooperatives in the two countries. Both case studies show that in various sectors (e.g. agriculture and finance) cooperatives have been involved in the delivery of health services to their members and communities. However, further engagement of the cooperative movement in the health sector would require equipping cooperative enterprises and ensuring there is a conducive environment for their emergence, sustainability and growth. Comments and remarks received by the researchers during the discussion will be used to finalize the report.

One possible follow-up that was agreed on by all the participants was the organization of a workshop during the next edition of the Geneva Health Forum in April 2018. The event would provide an opportunity to share research findings and engage with potential partners in Cameroon and Kenya for validation, prioritization and eventual implementation of the main recommendations.