The Faculty of Medicine of the National Autonomous University of Mexico yesterday launched ‘Rhythm and Direction of Health in Mexico’, a book composed of conversations of the Ministers of Health of the country between 1982 and 2018.
At the event, José Narro, current Minister of Health, said that through the published texts, the population changes that Mexico has experienced in the last 36 years can be observed. “In the 1980s, Mexico had 66.8 million inhabitants, while today we have 125 million,” he explained. “At that time, those under 15 years of age represented 43 percent of the population, while today they represent 27 percent and there is an average of eight children per family, while today it is 1.7.”
Also, Narro agreed the growth has been reflected in the quality and coverage of health institutions and workers that make up the health system. “Since the mid-1980s until today, there has been favorable growth in health infrastructure,” he continued. “Mexico went from 820 hospitals to 1,400 hospitals, from 58,000 hospital beds to 91,000, from 62,000 public doctors to 231,000 and from 104,000 nurses to 311,000.”
The Minister of Health stressed that Mexico has to review its federal health system and decide between federalizing or centralizing the sector. “It is necessary to have a federal system that interacts with the states and they in turn should communicate with the municipalities in all aspects, whether administrative or an issue of policy.”
Narro’s opinions are compatible with the OECD 2018’s recommendations that indicate that Mexico needs to “eliminate the fragmentation of its health system to create harmony between different subsystems and states, so that it can improve the quality of healthcare in Mexico.” Also, the report emphasizes that to change Mexico’s health, the government needs to fully overhaul it. “(It should) implement reforms that include greater health spending in areas that do not have sufficient funding or in preventive healthcare strategies.”