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Effective access to health care in Mexico


Effective access measures are intended to reflect progress toward universal health coverage. This study proposes an operative approach to measuring effective access: in addition to the lack of financial protection, the willingness to make out-of-pocket payments for health care signifies a lack of effective access to pre-paid services.

Materials and methods

Using data from a nationally representative health survey in Mexico, effective access at the individual level was determined by combining financial protection and effective utilization of pre-paid health services as required. The measure of effective access was estimated overall, by sex, by socioeconomic level, and by federal state for 2006 and 2012.


In 2012, 48.49% of the Mexican population had no effective access to health services. Though this represents an improvement since 2006, when 65.9% lacked effective access, it still constitutes a major challenge for the health system. Effective access in Mexico presents significant heterogeneity in terms of federal state and socioeconomic level.


Measuring effective access will contribute to better targeted strategies toward universal health coverage. The analysis presented here highlights a need to improve quality, availability, and opportuneness (location and time) of health services provision in Mexico.

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Correspondence to Sebastian Garcia-Saiso.

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Gutierrez, J.P., Garcia-Saiso, S., Fajardo-Dolci, G. et al. Effective access to health care in Mexico. BMC Health Serv Res 14, P42 (2014).

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  • Public Health
  • Health Care
  • Health Service
  • Health System
  • Health Survey