One of the goals of the National Development Plan 2013 – 2018 is for an inclusive country, where health plays an essential role for welfare and human capital. President Enrique Peña Nieto stated in the Sectorial Program for Healthcare 2013 – 2018, that it is necessary to promote a transformation of Mexico’s 70 year old National Healthcare System in order to adapt to the current social, economic, epidemiologic, demographic, technological, and environmental changes. The Sectorial Program for Healthcare 2013 – 2018 is the instrument through which the Federal Government establishes the strategies and actions to achieve the goals concerning healthcare defined in the National Development Plan 2013 – 2018. With six core objectives, 39 strategies and 274 actions, the Program indicates the pathway toward achieving a universal healthcare system through a more homogenous model of care, integrated operations, closer collaboration among the different institutions, and an intensive prevention policy.
The six objectives include:
- Consolidation of health protection and promotion and disease prevention actions.
- Ensuring effective access to quality healthcare services.
- Reduction of risks affecting the health of the population in any activity.
- Removal of gaps related to health between different social groups and regions in Mexico.
- Ensuring generation and effective use of health resources.
- Construction of the universal National Healthcare System under the leadership of the Ministry of Health.
Renowned Strategies and Results
One of the most prominent strategies implemented within the aforementioned first objective is the National Strategy for Prevention and Control of Overweight, Obesity, and Diabetes. It comprises actions such as developing prevention campaigns for chronic non-communicable diseases, promoting physical activity among individuals, families, and in schools and communities; improving monitoring systems for diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and overweight and obesity; and early diagnosis of the latter in schools, workplaces, and communities. In 2014, more than 40 million diagnostic tests were conducted, of which 13% were returned positive. The “Chécate, Mídete, Muévete” campaign coming under the umbrella of this strategy was found to encourage 61% of the audience to make lifestyle changes, according to the Ministry of Health.
Strategies for health protection against transmissible diseases have also been implemented, comprising vaccination campaigns and early diagnostics and treatment. Strengthening the epidemiologic surveillance system is key to improving decisions concerning control, elimination, and eradication of infectious diseases. The Universal Vaccination Program is one of the most developed in the world with 14 vaccines, which, along with an integral strategy aimed at controlling most of the vaccine-preventable infectious diseases, managed to cover 88.6% of children under one year old. During the three National Health Weeks, more than 34 million vaccines were administered, while 29 million doses were applied in the influenza season. Moreover, preventive actions were taken against potential entrance of Chikungunya virus, including notifying the epidemiologic system and training for surveillance units all over the country. MX$69.2 million were allocated as soon as the first case of transmission was confirmed in the state of Chiapas in November 2014.
Unlike developed countries, Mexico has low rates of early detection of cancer. This represents a growing concern for both the population and the National Healthcare System as malignant tumors are the third cause of death in the country. A very important strategy for ensuring effective access to quality healthcare services includes improving cancer detection and access to treatment, especially for breast, cervical, and prostate cancer. In 2014 more than 2 million mammograms were carried out in the public sector and 2,396 and 1,872 new cases of breast and cervical cancer were respectively diagnosed early. In addition, 1,292 medical professionals were trained in detection and control of breast cancer.
Reducing risks to health includes ensuring quality, safety, and efficacy of drugs and medical supplies. The pharmaceutical policy of the Federal Government aims at increasing access to a well-supplied market through a regulatory agency that ensures quality, safety, and efficacy of medicines, an effective drug registration process, elimination of barriers to products entering the market, and homologation of the regulatory body with best international practice. In this regard, COFEPRIS continues to increase the number of new molecules approved as well as the number of released molecules for generics registrations, and became recognized by the WHO and PAHO as a reference regulatory agency.
The sixth objective is perhaps the most relevant when it comes to transforming the National Healthcare system. The current administration aims at guaranteeing access to healthcare services for all Mexicans according to what the Mexican Constitution states. Seguro Popular registered an accumulated affiliation of 57.3 million people, 3.1% more people and 4.7% more elder adults than in 2013. Integration of the healthcare system took some steps forward with some collaboration agreements between the different institutions at the federal and state level. For instance IMSS-Prospera signed agreements with Seguro Popular, ISSSTE, and the states of Oaxaca and Chiapas, while SEDENA and SEMAR were incorporated into the services exchange program of the General Agreement of Collaboration.
Challenges yet to overcome
Epidemiological and demographic changes are the major drivers for such transformation which not only has institutional implications, but impacts all players of the value chain of the healthcare sector, such as providers for the public and private sectors, payers, and end users or patients. While the vaccination program has proven to be successful, all actors in the Mexican healthcare sector could further collaborate in pushing forward the National Strategy for Prevention and Control of Overweight, Obesity, and Diabetes, removing gaps between social groups, and achieving a universal and integrated healthcare system.
This post is an excerpt of Mexico Health Review 2015, to be released in September 2015. To pre-order your copy click here. Please direct all media enquiries to email@example.com.