Health Undersecretary of Mexico Discusses Health Care `Crusade’

After extending his health care policies to millions of Mexicans, Health Undersecretary of Mexico Enrique Ruelas Barajas spoke about his efforts to expand his country’s health care in Copley Formal Lounge on Tuesday night.

Addressing an audience of predominantly businesspeople, Barajas discussed his tenure, during which he increased health care coverage for Mexicans from 50 percent of the population in 2001 to 80 percent in 2006. By 2010, he hopes to extend coverage to all Mexican citizens – a goal he said he is confident the country will achieve under its current progress.

“Doctor Barajas has had the most impact of anyone on efforts to improve the quality of health care in all of Latin America,” Gary Filerman, chair of the Department of

Health Systems Administration at Georgetown, said in his introductory remarks.

When former Mexican President Vicente Fox was elected in 2000, Barajas had five months to introduce a new, feasible health care plan. Leading the president’s “National Crusade for Quality in Healthcare,” he redefined the previous system, detailing three main objectives: equity, quality and financial protection.

“I am here to help, not threaten,” Barajas said when questioned why he did not make accreditation compulsory.

An important aspect of his “crusade” was to ensure that the numerous medical schools in Mexico were accredited so their graduates would be well-educated to work in the hospitals. One specific policy prohibited non-accredited schools from sending their students to work in any hospital in Mexico.

The lecture was sponsored by the School of Nursing and Health Studies.

– Mary McGuire

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.