The definitive study of our sector around the world, “How are Co-ops & Mutuals Boosting Innovation & Access Worldwide?  An international survey of co-ops and mutuals at work in the health and social care sector”, was led in 2014 by Canadian researcher Jean-Pierre Girard.

The IHCO has created a comprehensive map of health and social services worldwide.

Highlights of the study demonstrate an impressive range of services in developed and developing countries.  Due to a range of reporting inconsistencies, all figures are estimates.

Medical sector

  • Persons worldwide using the facilities of cooperatives and mutuals engaged in the health (medical) sector: 81,000,081.
  • Co-operatives and mutuals engaged in health (medical) activity: 4,961.
  • Countries with cooperatives and mutuals which own and/or manage such facilities as clinics, medical centres, hospitals: 43.

Social Services sector

  • Social care co-operatives worldwide: 14,806.
  • The co-op model is applied in the pharmacy sector at all levels worldwide: retail, wholesalers, drug producers (laboratories).
  • In developing countries, health plans provided by co-op or mutuals frequently are the only affordable option for millions of people.

And then there are the wellness co-ops

  • The aim of these co-ops is to help people and communities to achieve and maintain optimal wellness in all aspects of their lives.

Dr Guisado, Chair of the International Health Co-operative Organization, estimates that the number of people served by health, wellness and social services co-operatives world-wide exceeds 300 million.