Taking Steps Toward Transforming Healthcare in Monterrey 

Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative

group of individuals from Monterrey


Caregivers in many localities have been historically undervalued, underestimated, and unpaid, and the burden of care falls disproportionately on women. Mayor Luis Donaldo Colosio of Monterrey, Mexico knew that addressing this inequality and improving services for caregivers in his city wouldn’t happen overnight.

When a cross-sectoral team from the city participated in the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative’s Collaboration track, he saw it as an opportunity to learn how to tackle this issue using the city’s existing resources.


Initial funding secured for the Monterrey Municipal Care System

Mayor Colosio and his team at city hall had a goal: create a local caregiving system not only for people who require care—such as children, the elderly, and those experiencing illness or disability—but for their caregivers as well. Women in Monterrey are often forced to quit their jobs and end or delay other pursuits to dedicate their time to caring for others.

The team started by exchanging ideas with city leaders from Bogotá, Colombia, another Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative alumni city that was experiencing similar issues.

To start tackling community healthcare challenges, Bogotá created “Care Blocks”—physical zones—with concentrated infrastructure and services for both caregivers and receivers, so both could access services simultaneously. The Care Blocks offered professional, free-of-charge care to some of society’s most vulnerable members while also providing education, psychological support, and income generation services for the caregivers whose time was freed up.

The Monterrey team wanted to achieve a similar goal, but the needs of the impacted population hadn’t been identified, and the different sectors involved had not yet planned to align existing resources.

During their participation in the Collaboration track—an offering of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative that helps cities strengthen their ability to harness the talents, resources, and energy of diverse stakeholders to solve complex problems—a team of eight leaders from Monterrey city hall and other organizations first focused on narrowing down the problem to actionable entry points that would help them get started on creating potential solutions.

The first entry point was to conduct a series of focus groups with caregivers in the San Bernabé area.

The second was to start a communication campaign to improve residents and community leaders’ understanding about caregivers’ work and help people recognize its value to the economy. They also met with other city departments to strategize about how their teams could contribute to care system goals.

The city formalized the collaboration by signing an agreement with UN Women and gaining the Monterrey City Council’s approval of $600,000 in funding to begin the work. Mayor Colosio and his team officially launched the initiative, “Monterrey Me Cuida,” in March 2023.  New offerings in San Bernabé include an expanded children’s care room, a geriatric play center, and an area dedicated to the care of caregivers.

In June 2024, Monterrey established regulations for the Monterrey Municipal Care System, becoming the first city in Mexico to do so. The moment marked an important milestone in building an approach that will support the work of caring for people. The ordinance defines the human rights of caregivers and establishes guiding principles as well as administrative oversight of the system.

The city also provided training through the Secretariat of Human Development and Substantive Equality for city staff to increase their technical knowledge and empathy for people needing and providing care. As of June 2024, 150 employees had completed the course, ensuring that government workers understand the importance of the care project and are prepared to deliver for city residents.

Thanks to the knowledge and support the Bloomberg Center for Cities has provided, our municipal care system is now a reality. Luis Donaldo Colosio Riojas
Monterrey Mayor

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