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Weekly Roundups

Omicron, Prevention, Healthtech: The Week in Health

By Miriam Bello | Thu, 12/02/2021 - 13:01

Mexico’s concerns are split between regulations for healtech, strengthening its system and supplying medicines for the population. As a new COVID-19 variant spreads, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador calls for calm while he changes leadership positions on key health institutions.

Here is the week in health!

Omicron Variant

Last week, South African health authorities detected a new COVID-19 variant called B.1.1.529 (now known as Omicron), which has an “extremely high” number of mutations and a high potential for spread. It is not yet clear whether Omicron is more transmissible or causes more severe disease compared to other variants. Vaccine manufacturers are studying whether their developments will be equally effective against this new variant, which you can read here. In the meantime, the US, the UK, Israel and Singapore have already temporarily suspended flights to South Africa.

ISSSTE, BIRMEX Change Directors

Mexico’s Minister of Interior Adán Augusto López named Pedro Zenteno and General Jens Lohmann as new heads of the Institute of Social Security and Services for State Workers (ISSSTE) and Laboratorios de Biológicos y Reactivos de México (BIRMEX), respectively.

Regulating Healthtech

An initiative over the regularization of digital healthcare was introduced to the Chamber of Deputies last Thursday and seems to have a likely chance of passing. The initiative prioritizes accessibility, quality of medical attention and confidentiality as well as scalability, interoperability, privacy, security of information and protection of data, replicability, transparency and universality.

Medicine, Supply Acquisition Contracts for 2022

UNOPS and INSABI clarified the purchases already made and the plans to acquire more medicines and medical supplies during their 3rd Joint Informative Session. To supply the country from January to June 2022, the institutions already purchased 549 million pieces. Purchases for the second half of 2022 will correspond to 273 types of medical supplies, representing 116 million individual pieces, and 361 different medicines, representing 271 million individual pieces.

Mexico Has No Universal Health Coverage: INSP

The National Institute of Public Health (INSP) addressed the areas of opportunity for Mexico’s health system, which still fails to provide universal coverage. Learn about the consequences and impacts these gaps in the system have for the population in this article.

Malnutrition Threatens the Region

A UN report shows that 13.8 million more people joined the ranks of those suffering from hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean in just one year. The region is now facing its highest rate of hunger in the past 15 years, contributing significantly to its malnutrition rates. The percentage of people living in hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean stands at 9.1 percent, slightly below the world average of 9.9 percent.

Gastric Cancer is a Severe Problem for Mexico

Mexico’s high prevalence of helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), a bacterium directly related to gastritis and gastric cancer, is concerning doctors and health authorities. Recent studies have found that 50-70 percent of the Mexican population is infected and the bacterium is responsible for 90 percent of gastric cancer cases. Most of those who have the infection are asymptomatic.

WHO on Future Pandemics

In response to the pandemic, its variants and concerns over future pandemics, the WHO created the Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO) to lead international efforts to monitor outbreaks. Read more about the objectives of SAGO and other WHO efforts to end the COVID-19 pandemic in this article.

Equality, Awareness to End AIDS

“End inequalities, AIDS and pandemics” was the theme of this year’s World AIDS Day, which is observed every Dec. 1. This year’s theme highlighted the role of inequality in spreading AIDS and other pandemics. Additionally, awareness on AIDS prevention and attention is urgently encouraged as new report from the WHO warned that resistance to antiretroviral drugs against HIV is on the rise. Learn more about the subject here.

From the Voice of the Experts

Mexico’s potential as a startup hub can be rightly exploited by following the right plan, said Ulises Vázquez, CEO, Mureni. He and Diego Muradás, Co-Founder and CEO, Zenda.la, explain how to successfully launch a tech startup and build a risk assessment plan that will support it in a crisis.

Complementing its pen-shaped line of medical devices designed to improve treatment adherence, Merck launches a pen-shaped solution for fertility treatments. Alfredo Román, Director of the Fertility Unit, Merck Group México, explains its benefits.

Alejandro Rossano, Director General, Grupo Médico Rossano, discusses the importance of transplants and of humanized organs for these procedures.

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst