Cristobal Thompson is the Executive Director at AMIIF (Asociacion Mexicana de Industrias de Investigacion Farmaceutica). The AMIIF represents more than 60 global companies with the aim of contributing to improving health in Mexico through innovative medicine. Here he discusses the new Alma-Ata Declaration that focuses on primary care and work at a community level to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
This is good news for Mexico, where chronic-degenerative diseases present a major healthcare challenge, with care costs amounting to 0.25% of the country’s GDP.
Forty years ago, 134 countries and 67 international organizations signed the historic Alma-Ata Declaration that was, until a few days ago, the most famous definition of primary health care. Forty years later, on October 25th and 26th, 2018, that commitment has been endorsed at the Global Conference on Primary Health Care in Astana, Kazakhstan.
The new declaration is not a mere rewriting of the commitments made in 1978. On this occasion, it’s acknowledged that health is based not only on the doctor-patient relationship but on constant work with the entire community. The new declaration also recognizes that primary health care is the touchstone for reaching the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, though this will only be possible with political will translated into public policy.
This is why it’s crucial that we establish programs that promote a healthy lifestyle along with measures that guarantee the population’s effective access to timely diagnoses and adequate treatments.
In Mexico, the new administration that takes office this year on December 1st heralds a strong commitment to prevention and primary health care. In line with the Kazakhstan Declaration, it has expressed that primary health care will be a critical element “for the reduction of poverty, improved nutrition, education, gender equality and empowerment, productive employment and economic growth, healthy cities and settlements”. This is good news for Mexico, where chronic-degenerative diseases present a major healthcare challenge, with care costs amounting to 0.25% of the country’s GDP. A significant portion of the disease burden and mortality derived from these conditions can be considered avoidable. This is why it’s crucial that we establish programs that promote a healthy lifestyle along with measures that guarantee the population’s effective access to timely diagnoses and adequate treatments.
Modifying unhealthy behaviours and taking preventative measures to avoid complications and to allow for timely diagnosis and treatment are proven cost-effective health interventions. Mexico’s new federal administration will find in the pharmaceutical innovation industry a committed ally in these efforts.