Dean Julio Frenk, who served as Mexico’s minister of health from 2000 to 2006, contributed to the Harvard Business Review’s “Innovations in Health Care” blog. As countries from Ghana to the United States grapple with expanding health care coverage for their citizens, policy efforts in Mexico have lessons to offer, he writes. As minister of health, Frenk introduced a program of comprehensive national health insurance, known as Seguro Popular, which expanded access to health care for tens of millions of previously uninsured Mexicans. As of December 2010, 40 million people were enrolled in the program and the country is on track to achieving universal health care coverage this year, Frenk writes.

The impacts of this type of program are felt not only in health gains, but in educational performance and economic growth, Frenk writes. Mexico is “fighting a different war, against ill health and poverty, and the prospects are very promising.”