Health cooperatives and mutuals worldwide – analysis of the contribution to citizens’ health by cooperatives around the world

Project status: on-going


In collaboration with the International Health Co-operative Organisation (IHCO), Euricse is conducting a study devoted to quantifying the number of people served globally by health cooperatives. The project examines both members and users of health cooperatives and analyses the way in which these organisations operate in and contribute to the welfare system of their country. The research includes both quantitative and qualitative analysis on health cooperatives and the systems in which they operate.


The project is structured in stages and is projected to span a period of five years, building incrementally towards its goal.  At the completion of each stage, there will be a discrete output (in the form of a dataset and report). For the first year, the focus is on 15 countries in four continents.

The research focuses on:

  • Physician and general practitioner cooperatives providing services related to treatment, cure, and/or rehabilitation
  • Cooperatives operating healthcare facilities, hospitals, clinics, etc.
  • Other cooperatives providing health care and health-related social services
  • Cooperatives working on illness prevention, health promotion and/or health literacy
  • Cooperatives in the field of pharmaceutical distribution and retailing
  • Cooperatives or mutuals offering health plans or insurance policies covering some or all of these services.

Quantitative analysis is the methodological basis of the project. Data collection is devoted to understanding the number and characteristics of the population served by health cooperatives in different countries around the world. The process of data collection includes obtaining and integrating both international and national official data on the different types of cooperatives as well as obtaining ad hoc data through a questionnaire.

The qualitative analysis seeks to deepen the results obtained from the quantitative analysis. The main goal is to take a further step in understanding the contribution of health cooperatives in promoting public health and well-being and to go beyond the mere quantification of the number of users of health cooperatives. A series of national case studies (four per year) will be released, providing a framework of the economic and social contexts in which the organisations under study work. Moreover, this in-depth analysis focuses on the relations between the organizations, members and users within the context of the particular healthcare system of the country in which they operate. The goals are to better understand the different types of health care cooperatives, highlight best practices, and determine in what ways cooperatives are contributing to the promotion of public health and well-being.