Mesoamerica Health Initiative Reduces Maternal Death in Chiapas

Chiapas is still the only state in the country that has technical assistance by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), through the Mesoamerica Health Initiative, to reduce maternal mortality in 30 municipalities with low rates in human development indicators.

According to data from the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), maternal mortality in Chiapas decreased 32.4 percent in the last 10 years to 2016, and particularly in the last four years the decrease amounted 5 percent. Therefore, 2016 is the year with fewer maternal deaths reported in the state.

It should be noted that the IDB invests 2.5 million dollars in this state. Each intervention made through the Mesoamerica Health Initiative compromises three stages to improve access, quality, and use of the health services of one 1,063,759 inhabitants (143 thousand children under five years old and 270 thousand women of childbearing age) who live in the Sanitary Jurisdictions of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Pichucalco, Palenque and Ocosingo.

The first intervention of this project was carried out from September 17, 2012 to March 17, 2014, according to the executive secretary of the program, Emma Iriarte, Chiapas substantially improved overall levels of availability for equipment, drugs and supplies in health units. These results allowed starting the next stage.

The second intervention of the Mesoamerica Health Initiative, which began on May 5th2016 and will be concluded on May 4th 2018, is currently focused on improving care and fully protecting maternal and child health.

For the execution of this project, about 6.5 million dollars are invested per intervention, of which the Government of the State of Chiapas participates with 3.8 million dollars and the Mesoamerica Health Initiative contributes 2.5 million dollars, in addition to a complementary incentive if 100 percent of the indicator-based targets are achieved.

The Mesoamerica Health Initiative is a public-private partnership between Carlos Slim Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Government of Spain, the IDB, and the governments of the seven countries of Mesoamerica and the state of Chiapas in Mexico, which seeks to reduce morbidity and mortality in women of childbearing age and children under five in areas of extreme poverty in the region. The Initiative focuses on improving the supply of health services in communities where the poorest 20% of the population lives, with innovative interventions in maternal and perinatal health, child nutrition and vaccination.