From a historical and cultural point of view, the Mesoamerican region consists of areas where indigenous populations flourished prior to Spanish colonization. It is also defined as a transnational economic region recognized by the seven countries of Central America—Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama—as well as the nine southeastern states of Mexico.
The Initiative works in close coordination and cooperation with the Mesoamerican Public Health System (SMSP), which is essential to its success. The Initiative is a catalyst for meeting the health goals established by the SMSP and the Council of Central American Health Ministers (COMISCA)
In spite of progress in health over the past decade, many services do not reach the bottom 20 percent. Mothers and newborns suffer and die unnecessarily every day, and child malnutrition is among the highest on the continent.
The Mesoamerican region has several efforts towards economic and social integration which have been implemented in two phases: the Puebla-Panama Plan, established in 2001, and the Mesoamerica Integration and Development Project (Proyecto Mesoamérica) starting in 2008.
For the Initiative to complement and reinforce operations that may have a direct impact on vulnerable communities, a regional standpoint and health agenda alignment are essential.