Lessons from Mexico’s H1N1 Influenza Outbreak

Latin American Social Medicine Association, Mexico Region, A.C.


1. Mexico needs to rebuild an efficient epidemiological monitoring system which can react in a timely manner to unusual infectious outbreaks. SINAVE, the National Epidemiologic Monitoring System, showed itself incapable of responding opportunely and effectively to the increase of pneumonia cases which was reported as early as February 2009. Nor did SINAVE pay sufficient attention to the inhabitants of Gloria, Perote, Veracruz when they complained of an outbreak of respiratory illness.
2. Priority should be given to forming teams with the technical capacity to identify the earliest cases of any new outbreak and then to immediately establish quarantine procedures. These teams should be housed within the National Public Health System and should be properly structured, well organized, and coordinated on the national level. There can be no doubt that the recent public health emergency in Mexico demonstrated the disorder and disorganization which have resulted from dismantling of Mexico’s national public health system. The deficiencies in Mexican public health result from several decades of disinvestment in the public sector and of favoring privatization and technological dependency on transnational companies. The lack of effective and consistent communication, guidance, and policies in response to the emergency made clear just how the current system reinforces social exclusion by not responding to the needs of the population. [continued...]

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Editorial Offices:

Department of Family and Social Medicine
Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center
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Asociación Latinoamericana de Medicina Social (ALAMES)/Latin American Social Medicine Association:
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ALAMES, Mexico Region, San Jerónimo 70 – 1, Col. La Otra Banda, CP 01090, México, D.F.