Mexico’s Quality Flu Response


Tyler Cowen observes that the Mexican government, which doesn’t always have the best performance, seems to have handled the swine flu episode quite well:

I hesitate to speak too soon but I’m actually somewhat impressed by how the Mexican government, at least at the national level, has responded. There have been many failures of Mexican health care systems at local levels but keep a few things in mind: a) some of the problems lie with citizens who won’t go see doctors, or who won’t go see non-shaman doctors, b) too many Mexicans self-administer antibiotics, and c) when there is so much air pollution it is harder to discover flu cases, especially in the midst of flu season there. Nonetheless Mexican reporting systems seem to have discovered an unusual flu fairly promptly.

Once the national government discovered what is going on, they acted decisively and without undue panic. There has been very little denial, a common feature in the early stages of health crises (how long was it until the U.S. government acknowledged AIDS?). No one is treating the Mexican federal government like a banana republic or a basket case or thinking that the Canadian government would have done so much better.

I think this is about right. Certainly in comparison with how the Chinese government handled SARS and the avian flu outbreak, the Mexicans seem to be acting responsibly and effectively.