The Mesoamerica Health Initiative Promotes Better Health Care

The Mesoamerica Health Initiative (MHI) was founded in 2010 as a public-private partnership between the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Carlos Slim Foundation (CSF), the Government of Spain, the Central American countries and the state of Chiapas in Mexico.

Throughout these years, MHI continues to supporting countries to strengthen and improve health access for women and children in the poorest 20 percent of the population in Mesoamerica. Its objective is to reduce gaps in maternal health, vaccination and child nutrition.

The initiative has directly benefited 1.8 million women of childbearing age and children under five years old, and has indirectly helped 4.5 million people in the poorest areas of the region.

A recent evaluation concludes that MHI is promoting a culture of accountability among the health care systems of participating countries through its emphasis on results-based financing, use of information and innovation, and technical assistance.

The Mesoamerica Health Initiative has been able to implement:

  • Rapid detection and follow-up testing for pregnant women in communities of El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.
  • In 10 hospitals of Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, obstetricians, gynecologists and pediatricians are on duty 24 hours, seven days a week.
  • Quality Improvement Strategies for the health systems of Chiapas, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua have been stablished.

Routine monitoring has shown the following improvements:

In two years, Chiapas has increased care compliance in case of maternal complications by 20 percentage points.

Belize has increased follow-up of pregnant woman during their first trimester from 2 to 5 out of 10 women.

In Nicaragua, 10,237 women from 965 communities have created a birth plan for the first time.

In Honduras, observance of standards for complications has increased from 6.9 to 46.2 percent.