Innovative Finance to Address Nutrition in Southeast Asia
While malnutrition is a global issue, it had become a particularly severe public health challenge across Southeast Asia by 2015 where there was an estimated $6B annual funding gap for viable solutions. The “dual burden” of malnutrition, referring to both undernutrition (nutrient-deficient and underweight) and overnutrition (overweight and obese) was escalating rapidly and taxing the already fragile public health systems, posing a significant risk for future generations.
To address this funding gap, the Milken Institute Asia Centerhosted a Financial Innovations Lab at Singapore Management University in June 2015. Lab participants included health researchers and academics, as well as representatives of governments, NGOs, and donor foundations. The discussion focused on the applicability of innovative financing models that have been put to work successfully in other regions of Southeast Asia. Participants advocated for a partnership between the public and private sectors to complement traditional funding mechanisms as well as new financing solutions and the political will to push those solutions forward.