The Lancet and the Mexican Ministry of Health are to host a Ministerial and scientific expert meeting* on October 4-6, 2006, to aid health-system reform in middle-to-low income countries. The conference and a parallel series of papers, to be published by The Lancet, will report the results of Mexico's work with health reform over the past 6 years, writes Lancet Editor Richard Horton and Julio Frenk, Mexico's Health Minister, in a Comment in this week's issue.
Mexico, like all Latin and Central American nations, eastern Europe, central Asia, China, India, other parts of the south Asia, and some countries in Africa, is facing old and new health threats. This 'double burden of disease' includes infectious threats, child and maternal mortality, and new dangers, such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and cancer. Over the past 6 years Mexico has been a 'global laboratory' for health system reform to address these problems. Their and other countries experiences confronting similar issue will be presented at the meeting.
"The goal of the conference and the series is to generate a set of scientifically-based policy options for middle-to-low income governments to consider as they grapple with multiple health challenges," state Dr Horton and Dr Frenk.
"We believe that country experiences of health-system reform have great global relevance as policy-makers struggle to adapt to profound development, demographic, and disease transitions. The purpose of this partnership between the Mexican Ministry of Health and The Lancet is to document some of these experiences, to distil more widely applicable lessons, and to propose interventions that could protect and advance the health of vulnerable peoples worldwide," they conclude.