Salud Mesoamérica Initiative

Project Overview

The MSH-led Salud Mesoamerica Initiative was an innovative public-private partnership that sought to improve the quality of maternal, newborn, and child health services and reduce equity gaps for the poorest populations in seven Central American countries – Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama – and the southern state of Chiapas, Mexico. 

The project brought together strategic investments from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Carlos Slim Foundation, Government of Spain, Inter-American Development Bank, regional bodies, national governments, and local stakeholders in an innovative partnership that rewarded equity and quality. The initiative used results-based funding on a large scale, allocating funds at the national level based on measurable improvements in coverage and quality of maternal, newborn, and child health services. The implementation of quality improvement coupled with a unique model of technical assistance accelerated performance towards agreed health targets. 

MSH’s unique approach to technical assistance involved placing technical advisors within targeted hospitals for a period of weeks or months in order to work directly beside teams to implement a continuous quality improvement process using practical tools that are easy to use and produce measurable results. Through the project, MSH helped systematize and institutionalize continuous quality improvement at 52 health facilities in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Panama. Documented improvements in quality of care included an increase from 17% to 61% in management of obstetric complications in Belize, Honduras, and Nicaragua, and 24% increase in antenatal care quality in El Salvador. 

The initiative was financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Carlos Slim Foundation for Health, and the government of Spain, and was administered by the Inter-American Development Bank.