«The covid-19 pandemic has led to a sudden and massive increase in demand for health services, and health cooperatives in many countries were ready to provide support, relieving some of the pressures being faced by public health-care systems», states the UN Secretary-General in his report entitled Cooperatives in social development.
The document mentions various examples such «in Brazil, where the effects of the pandemic have been devastating, cooperative health services cover 85 per cent of the country’s national territory, representing 32 per cent of the private health-care market», or Japan where «health cooperatives provided free medical care for vulnerable populations». It also highlights the case of Spain where health cooperatives «opened their facilities for use by the public sector».
The report also affirms that many cooperatives distributed personal protective equipment, carried out awareness-raising campaigns and established support funds for front-line health-care workers; and mentions the good practices in India and Cameroon.
The United Nations asks governments to «create policies and programmes to leverage the cooperative enterprise model for a more inclusive and resilient recovery by scaling up the provision of cooperative health-care services to cover a larger number of people.»