Inequity in the region
The Mesoamerican region includes the Central American countries (Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama) and nine states in Southern Mexico. As a region, Mesoamerica is among the most inequitable in the world. In spite of progress in health over the past decade and increases in national averages, the situation of the extreme poor remains substantially worse than that of more fortunate groups.
The lack of progress can be seen in the patterns of disease, injuries and conduct. Maternal mortality ratios in the Mesoamerican region are among the highest on the continent; chronic malnutrition and anemia are very common; timely vaccination of children under two remains a challenge; and infectious diseases such as malaria and dengue still affect the poor disproportionately. Public spending on health for the poorest bears little relation to the existing needs.
These inequalities are unacceptable and preventable and can be overcome. If the factors that perpetuate equity gaps are to be changed, they must be dealt with integrally and effectively.