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Mexico Is a Healthy Place to Live!

17 February 2011 One Comment

Mexico has had one of the largest increases in life expectancy of its citizens in recent years. According to statistics from the Organization of the United Nations (UN), the life expectancy in Mexico has soared from 66.6 to 76.7 years from 1980 to 2010. Even among OECD members, Mexico has the highest increase in life expectancy over the past 20 years and occupies the first place among the big countries in Latin America.

When looking upon a longer period in history, during the last 60 years (1950-2010), Mexico has increased the life expectancy of its citizens in 27.3 years, while Brazil the U.S. and the UK have increased life expectancy only by 22.5, 11.2 and 11.3 years respectively. This increase is one of the highest reported globally, which means that health care issues in Mexico are going on the right track. Of all OECD countries, Mexico has the highest increase in life expectancy over the past 20 years, and has the third place in Latin America. This increase is more notable including the BRIC countries where China and Brazil have an expectancy of 73 years, while Russia and India 67 and 64, respectively

Moreover, when we look at the Healthy Life Expectancy (EVS), which is simply the average number of years a person expects to live in “perfect health” without diseases that affect the quality of life, the results are more surprising. The EVS for Mexico is 67 years, a figure equal to the European and American average, which in turn are the highest averages. These figures are higher than those of the BRIC with 64, 60, 56 and 66 for Brazil, Russia India and China, respectively. And that’s not all, when reviewing the healthy life expectancy by dividing the world into four income levels, Mexico is in the high income range, which is the highest level of classification.

This is the result of efforts made in Mexico towards universal health access. Currently, in Mexico there are three main ways that you have access to medicine and social security (1) through the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) for salaried persons, (2) the Security and Services Institute for Social Workers (ISSSTE) for government employees, and (3) Seguro Popular, which is universal access. The federal government’s objective is to have universal coverage for health issues, using these three different mechanisms.

The Mexican health system has evolved from 1943, when the IMSS was founded, until the adoption of universal insurance coverage in 2004.. As for the Seguro Popular, Dr. Julio Frenk, its creator, who is former Minister of Health and current director of the School of Public Health for Harvard University, said that “logic of the budget changed,” to make government spending directly proportional to people who registered for the program to implement the Seguro Popular. This helps solve one of the biggest challenges, which is to make the Popular Insurance Scheme more accessible to Mexicans who need it most, as they have no access to insurance through other means.

Social coverage offered by Mexico is undoubtedly seen as a worldwide example. Mexico´s medical care resources are considerably lower than in countries like Costa Rica and Chile, but has recently made public health spending increases by an additional 1.5% of GDP, thereby fulfilling a goal of the Seguro Popular.

Mexico is using the resources it has to provide more and better standards of living for its citizens, demonstrating its commitment to have a better life. There are still challenges, but the progress achieved is undeniable.

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