Results-based aid with lasting effects: sustainability in the Salud Mesoamérica Initiative

Published October 16, 2018, in Globalization and Health (opens in a new window)


The Salud Mesoamérica Initiative is a public-private partnership aimed at reducing maternal and child morbidity and mortality for the poorest populations in Central America and the southernmost state of Mexico. Currently at the midpoint of implementation and with external funding expected to phase out by 2020, SMI’s sustainability warrants evaluation. In this study, we examine if the major SMI components fit into the Dynamic Sustainability Framework to predict whether SMI benefits could be sustainable beyond the external funding and to identify threats to sustainability.


Through the 2016 Salud Mesoamérica Initiative Process Evaluation, we applied qualitative methods including document review, key informant interviews, focus group discussions, and a social network analysis to address our objective.


SMI’s design continuously evolves and aligns with national needs and objectives. Partnerships, the regional approach, and the results-based aid model create a culture that prioritizes health care. SMI’s sector-wide approach and knowledge-sharing framework strengthen health systems. Evidence-based practice promotes policy dialogue and scale-up of interventions.


Most SMI elements fit within the Dynamic Sustainability Framework, suggesting a likelihood of sustainability after external funding ceases, and subsequent application of lessons learned by the global community. This includes a flexible design, partnerships and a culture of prioritizing health care, health systems strengthening mechanisms, policy changes, and scale-ups of interventions. However, threats to sustainability, including possible transient culture of prioritizing health care, dissipation of reputational risk and financial partnerships, and personnel turnover, need to be addressed.

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El Bcheraoui C, Kamath AM, Dansereau E, Palmisano EB, Schaefer A, Hernandez B, Mokdad AH. Results-based aid with lasting effects: sustainability in the Salud Mesoamérica Initiative. Globalization and Health. 16 Oct 2018;14(1):97. doi:10.1186/s12992-018-0418-x.