December 18, 2014
Mexico City, Mexico - On November 24, 2014 CIH commissioners Dean Jamison and Gavin Yamey met with representatives of the Mexican Ministry of Health and Ministry of Finance to present Global Health 2035: A World Converging within a Generation. At this meeting, which took place at the Ministry of Health in Mexico City, high-level health and finance officers met to discuss the implications of the CIH report for Mexico’s health investments.
The meeting was presided by Eduardo González Pier, Vice-Minister for Integration and Development of the Health Sector at the Ministry of Health. During the discussion, both Mexico’s health successes and challenges were highlighted.
Mexico is a leader in global health policy; the country achieved universal health coverage through the creation of Seguro Popular, and has passed innovative fiscal policies to address the rise in non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as the tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. As a result of such investments in health, the country has seen extraordinary health progress – reaching life expectancies similar to those of the United States. But there are areas where Mexico continues to fall behind. Maternal and child health indicators remain poor compared to the US, largely due to health inequalities. NCDs continue to be a rising challenge – the costs of diabetes now exceed 2% of the country’s GDP. And despite the success of UHC, Mexico faces the challenges of containing health spending while improving the quality of health care.
Commissioners Jamison and Yamey challenged the audience to push Mexico towards a “second convergence,” in which the country would surpass the United States to achieve the same health status as that currently experienced in the best performing high-income countries. They identified three key opportunities for Mexico to achieve this: address the country's health inequality by improving maternal and child health in the Southern region; focus on improving the quality of care and expanding coverage for NCDs and mental health in Seguro Popular; and pursue more aggressive policies to address NCDs and injury risks.
The meeting was followed by a presentation and roundtable discussion with key leaders in Mexico’s health sector, including representatives from the Ministry of Health, Pan American Health Organization, WHO, academics, civil society organizations, and opinion leaders. Professor John Scott of CONEVAL, and Professor Felicia Knaul of Harvard provided their thoughts and responses on the implications of Global Health 2035 for Mexico, and the best way forward to continue making health progress. A second convergence is within reach, and Mexico is well positioned to achieve it.