Health officials from the central Mexican state of Zacatecas announced earlier this month that they are working with UC Berkeley to establish health clinics in California to serve low-income migrants, according to a report published by Frontera Norte-Sur, an online news source about the US-Mexico border published by New Mexico State University.
The collaboration was announced at a meeting on Oct. 5 in the city of Guanajuato, Mexico, where health officials, government representatives and academics gathered to commence Binational Health Week, an event that was founded in 2001 to promote information sharing and health service collaborations across North America.

In addition to the United States and Canada, a number of South American nations also sent representatives to Mexico. The Zacatecas-Berkeley partnership is just one of several initiatives that are being developed by the Mexican government to promote health care access for undocumented Mexican nationals working in the United States.

Mexican health secretary Jose Angel Cordova Villalobos, on hand for the meeting, said the Mexican government is also piloting a program that will pay 3,000 temporary agricultural workers in the state of Washington $32 per month to access emergency and primary care. According to Cordova, up to 45 percent of the Mexican population living abroad does not have access to health care. Furthermore, he said, the rate at which Mexicans living abroad suffer from serious illnesses such as diabetes, AIDS and drug addiction is twice that of their compatriots living in Mexico.

Roberta Ryder, a representative from the US-based National Center for Farmworker Health, told the assembly that 60 percent of Mexican immigrants in the United States are excluded from receiving health coverage under new health care reform legislation.