Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Carlos Slim Health Institute, Spain, and the IDB collaborate to improve health of the poor in Mesoamerica

México, D.F. – The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Health Institute of the Carlos Slim Foundation, the Government of Spain, and the Inter-American Development Bank have agreed to collaborate in establishing the “Salud Mesoamérica 2015” (SM2015) Initiative. The Initiative’s goal is to reduce health inequities affecting the poorest 20 percent of the population in Central America and Southern Mexico. The Initiative also aims to support the efforts of the governments of this region to achieve the health Millennium Development Goals.

Salud Mesoamérica 2015, in the areas of reproductive health, maternal and neonatal health, maternal and child nutrition, immunization, and preventing and controlling dengue and malaria.a five-year initiative concluding in 2015, targets millions of poor people, with a focus on women and children who have limited access to inexpensive health interventions of proven efficacy. The initiative will finance projects

From left to right: Spain's minister of Health Trinidad Jiménez; Bill Gates, Carlos Slim and IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Health Institute of the Carlos Slim Foundation, and the Government of Spain are each contributing $50 million. The IDB is the executing agency responsible for working with region’s governments to prepare, implement and monitor projects funded by the initiative, and to commission independent evaluations. The IDB will also manage the combined $150 million contribution of the donors. 

Salud Mesoamérica 2015 will work in partnership with the health ministries of Mesoamerican countries and in close coordination with the Mesoamerican Public Health System. This system is part of the regional integration platform known as Proyecto Mesoamérica.

In contrast to many other international programs, countries will not compete for resources under SM2015, because amounts will be allocated per country over a five-year period based on their poverty and health inequality status. Moreover, governments themselves will determine the projects that will be financed by the Initiative within the identified areas.

Expected results for the region include a significant decrease in the mortality rate of children under five years of age. The initiative is also intended to reduce chronic and micronutrient malnutrition in childhood and among pregnant women, interventions that are critical to improving birth outcomes and set the stage for better growth prospects in the future. The Initiative aims to have a direct effect in poor communities on the coverage and quality of childhood vaccination, pre- and post-natal care, and access to family planning, among other services.

Salud Mesoamérica 2015 promotes the use of health services and the adoption of healthier behaviors by poor households. It also creates incentives among participating governments for more equitable allocation of domestic funding and for policy making that improves the health of the poor.

The implementation of operations financed through the Initiative will be coordinated by an office based in the IDB's representation in Panama. 

Salud Mesoamérica 2015 is expected to generate globally-relevant knowledge on how to scale up cost-effective health interventions in poor communities. Further, it will also leverage additional funding from other public and private sector sources.

“Multilateral institutions like the IDB can provide an umbrella to bring together resources and expertise from organizations like our prestigious partners committed to reducing health equity gaps,” said IDB President, Luis Alberto Moreno. Salud Mesoamérica 2015 is a catalytic force to bring about measurable results in the health conditions of the poor living in this region,” added Moreno.  


The Health Institute of the Carlos Slim Foundation
The Institute was created in 2007 by Ing. Carlos Slim Helú to develop and finance programs that are part of the solution of the main health care problems facing Latin America and the Caribbean. The Institute works with an innovative spirit with a human side, and with a clear preoccupation for the neediest populations.                                          

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty.

In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Jeff Raikes and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett. 

Spanish Cooperation (Government of Spain)
The Spanish cooperation seeks to fight poverty and achieve a sustainable human development in developing nations. For this end, the cooperation has several actors and instruments that are used in accordance with the commitments made under the Millennium Development Goals, the Paris Declaration and the Accra Action Agenda, which together make up a common proposal in the fight against poverty. Participating in the Salud Mesoamerica 2015 program are the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, and the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation for Development. 

Inter-American Development Bank
IDB is committed to support efforts by Latin America and the Caribbean countries to reduce poverty and inequality. We aim to bring about development in a sustainable and climate-friendly way. IDB is the largest source of development financing for the region with a mandate to achieve measurable results, increased integrity, transparency and accountability.