In 2012, Shoulder to Shoulder was selected by the Ministry of Health has a representative for the Mesoamérica Health Initiative. Mesoamérica Health 2015 is a 5-year, public-private partnership initiative to reduce health equity gaps in Mesoamérica faced by those living in extreme poverty. The initiative (SM2015) is funded by the Carlos Slim Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the government of Spain, and the World Development Bank.
The initiative’s goal is to support regional governments’ efforts in achieving the Millennium Development Goals in health, through investments in proven interventions for the poorest 20% of the population, mainly women and children under five. SM2015 supports meeting these goals through extending coverage, quality and use of basis reproductive health services; improving maternal, neonatal and infant health care services; improving child nutrition and increasing immunization coverage.
At the regional level, specific targets include:
• Reducing infant mortality by an average of 15% in the poorest countries of the region in the 20% poorest.
• Attend 260,000 poor children with health interventions to reduce chronic malnutrition.
• Ensure that 90% of children under two years of age of the poorest quintile have all vaccinations.
• Increase the number of births attended by skilled personnel by 50% to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality
The initiative’s guiding principles include:
1. Equity and targeting the extremely poor.
2. Country ownership and alignment with national and regional policies.
3. Impact and results-based approach.
4. Measurement and evaluation of performance.
5. Transparency and accountability.
6. Additionality (Funding granted may not replace national funding to ensure the sustainability of investments)
7. Coordination with regional bodies.
As a result of Mesoamérica, Shoulder to Shoulder has received supplies and equipment, trainings, implemented new processes to maximize the efficient use of resources, and augmented existing government programs targeted at children under 5. Shoulder to Shoulder will soon be undergoing an evaluation and if the organization, as well as the other 5 participating decentralized models achieve 80%, will proceed to the next round of funding and associated targets. Shoulder to Shoulder was chosen not only for the challenges of providing care for the population it serves but also for the competency of its staff. Stay tuned to hear how we performed for our first evaluation. For more information about the project’s work throughout Mesoamérica, please visit: www.sm2015.org.