FUNSALUD is a nonprofit institution dedicated to serve the community through the support and development of scientific knowledge. To do this, the institution strongly supports research projects and the education of future professionals, and it also helps public institutions to identify health and solve health problems. The ultimate goal of the institution is to improve health in Mexico.
Exclusive Interview with José Campillo García, Executive President of FUNSALUD
Q: What are FUNDALUD’s greatest strengths?
A: FUNSALUD was founded 30 years ago as a private organization funded by Mexican businessmen. The 100 initial funders worked as a think-tank to connect private-sector ideas with public policy in health. As a think-tank we are ranked at number 12 in the world and our goal is to become the benchmark for private interactions with the public sector. One of our strongest points is our associates from the pharmaceutical industry, who keep us abreast of new innovations. Data on disease and technological trends helps us formulate public policy proposals, rather than simply promoting new developments. Our proposals are always independent and neutral, since we are not a PR company. FUNSALUD aims to produce policy documents to influence the public sector with scientific evidence. Ours is a neutral arena aimed at building consensus so that we can reach conclusions beyond political considerations or media presence. We eliminate conflicts of interests between industry and the public authorities, since after receiving funding from the private sector we leave the name of the company and the commercial brands aside. Therefore, the monetary contributions become neutral capital both for the Government and FUNSALUD.
Q: What are the most concerning things about health problems in the Mexican population?
A: Mexico’s population and society are changing rapidly. Our population is growing older and faces lower rates of infectious diseases and higher rates of chronic ones. Since the 1960s, our society has transitioned from a rural to a mostly urban makeup, with 72% of Mexicans living in cities. This has changed the way disease impacts society, with pollution, urban criminality, and poverty influencing the health of Mexico’s population. The rise of diabetes depends partly on this population shift, the changes it entails for nutrition habits, and other environmental factors. About 10 million Mexicans suffer from diabetes, making this a real epidemic. Among adults 20 years and older, 9.17% have been diagnosed with diabetes. Of all people with diabetes, 46.95% also have with hypertension, 4.47% have had a stroke, and 54.46% have a reported family background of diabetes. It is estimated that a large number of people are diabetic but undiagnosed, which is worrisome as diabetes is preventable and treatable if detected at early stages.
Q: Do you foresee a convergence between ISSSTE, IMSS, and Seguro Popular?
A: The very fragmentation of all three institutions makes the current model unsustainable in the long run. So convergence is inevitable, but we don’t know when it will happen. First there must be collaboration and coordination across hospitals and facilities regardless of the institution they belong to. Consolidated purchasing, referencing, and counter-referencing of patients are all basic and necessary. FUNSALUD first proposed universal health care between 2011 and 2012, but this as a process that will take from 20 to 30 years as the system must respond to long-standing problems, such as inefficiencies in expenditures and increased costs due to duplicated services. In this situation the one who suffers most is the patient, and so segments of the population already affiliated to public healthcare institutions are increasingly using private services. Recently, we have seen the appearance of health services in pharmacies. According to our research, from 50,000 to 60,000 doctors now provide consultations and issue prescriptions at the point of sale. Generally their professional profile is the same of those hired in the public sector and this service has the advantages of being close, efficient, and readily available. In our opinion, this form of privatization is not necessarily appropriate or helpful. These doctors do not provide a deep analysis and instead of clinical records, they provide brief commentaries. Moreover, because the phenomenon grew spontaneously, there are a variety of regulatory gaps to overcome. COFEPRIS has tried to regulate doctors at points of sale, but they do not have the capacity to monitor every one of them.