Equality-Based Diplomacy to Fight COVID-19By Miriam Bello | Thu, 09/23/2021 - 13:55
Q: Your department is leading the diplomatic fight against the pandemic. What were the initial steps to create a diplomatic and health strategy?
A: In mid-2020, the Ministry of Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights (MoFA) used its diplomatic channels to analyze the progress of therapeutics and medical devices around the world to introduce them early into the country and give priority access to the Mexican population. An air bridge was also established to facilitate the arrival of those urgent supplies and other donations.
Q: How do local authorities determine the final destination of donated material?
A: Mexico’s health authority developed the strategy that determined which supplies remained in the country and which could be donated to other countries. MoFA assisted them by facilitating their transfer to chosen nations. Local authorities also identified the specific needs of health institutions to expedite the acquisition or donation of medical supplies. We collaborated with Mexico’s health authority to accelerate regulatory processes.
Q: Your department has worked to improve COFEPRIS’s international standing. How does this benefit Mexicans?
A: To ensure the quality, safety and efficacy of health supplies it is essential to have a regulatory agency of the highest quality that is recognized worldwide. A health authority that is recognized for its strength and regulatory maturity ensures that the supplies used during the pandemic are efficacious, safe, high-quality and meet the needs of the population.
Q: How will Mexico’s actions contribute to global vaccination and how will they influence other countries to follow the example?
A: Mexico has led the call for equity in vaccination not only in the region but in the world. The country has made this request at the highest-level forums, including at the UN meeting last year. These efforts have achieved the mobilization of supplies and vaccines to the nations that need them most and they have been replicated by multiple countries.
During the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), we introduced initiatives to strengthen the production and commercialization of health supplies using the capabilities of the region's pharmaceutical industry and the regulatory strength achieved by some members.
Q: How has MoFA contributed to the development of Mexico’s COVID-19 vaccine Patria?
A: A multidisciplinary group has evaluated each of the vaccines being developed in Mexico and in accordance with their progress they have been supported through various mechanisms.
The Patria vaccine is one of the projects that can be financed by CEPI. Since the beginning of the pandemic, this project has been monitored in coordination with COFEPRIS to ensure it complies with each development stage until it is authorized for emergency use.
Q: How can Mexico use its industrial arm and strong foreign relations to boost its economy?
A: Last year, MoFA created the Directorate for Global Investment , which operates under the Deputy Ministry for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights and allows our country to materialize opportunities to strengthen its economic sectors.
The current situation offers opportunities for Mexican industries, especially the pharmaceutical sector. MoFA aims to boost Mexico’s economy through various actions. For example, the Mexican Foreign Service is continuously searching for investment capital and integrating production chains that take full advantage of the potential of the Mexican industry.
Q: Before handing over its health-related tasks to the Ministry of Health in 2022, what are the department’s main priorities?
A: We continue our search for opportunities to improve the supply of vaccines and innovative treatments, which allow the country to lay the foundations for the fight against the pandemic.
We are now focusing on the search for commercial offers for the vaccines already authorized in the country and for treatments and vaccines that could be authorized by COFEPRIS to fight the pandemic.
Martha Delgado has over 28 years of experience in the public sector directing civil organizations dedicated to the environment. She was also an Independent Deputy in the III Legislature of the Legislative Assembly of the Federal District.