Mexico has made slow but measurable progress in public health. The Health Sector Reform Program, launched in 1995, has aimed at reorganizing the healthcare system to expand coverage and increase efficiency of services. In 1997, the National Social Security System operated 14,978 outpatient clinics and 372 general hospitals. In 1999 the country had around 152,000 nurses. As of 1999, there were an estimated 1.7 physicians and1.1 hospital beds per 1,000 people. As of 1999, total health care expenditure was estimated at 5.3% of GDP. In 2000, 86% of the population had access to safe drinking water and 73% had adequate sanitation.
As of 2002, the crude birth rate and overall mortality rate were estimated at, respectively, 22.36 and 4.99 per 1,000 people. About 65% of the married women (ages 15 to 49) were using contraception in 2000. The infant mortality rate, which was 101.7 per 1,000 live births in 1948, was reduced to 29 by 2000. Average life expectancy, meanwhile, rose from 32.4 years in 1930 to 57.6 in 1965; by 2000, average life expectancy was estimated at 73 years for men and women. Maternal mortality was 55 per 100,000 live births in 1998.
Cholera, yellow fever, plague, and smallpox have been virtually eliminated, and typhus has been controlled. There were 6,293 malaria cases reported in 1998. Permanent campaigns are waged against malaria, poliomyelitis, skin diseases, tuberculosis, leprosy, onchocerciasis, and serious childhood diseases. Immunization rates for children up to one year of age were as follows in 1997: tuberculosis, 99%; diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, 93%; polio, 94%; and measles, 84%. Major causes of death in 1994 were noted as follows: communicable diseases (63 per 100,000); neoplasms (57 per 100,000); injuries (73 per 100,000); and circulatory diseases (111 per 100,000).
Since 1995, the number of new AIDS cases reported each year has stabilized. As of 1999, the number of people living with HIV/AIDS was estimated at 150,000 and deaths from AIDS that year were estimated at 4,700. HIV prevalence was 1.1 per 100 adults.