Like other regions of the world, Southeast Asian societies are confronting many health equity challenges – ensuring universal access to primary health care; developing pro-equity health financing policies; training workers who will serve the poor and disadvantaged; and tackling the pressing health issues of women and children, migrant and trafficked workers, ethnic minorities, and those ravaged by humanitarian crises. Social determinants like equitable access to jobs and education, housing, and food are also important drivers of equity in health.
In response to these concerns, and recognizing the opportunities present in an economically dynamic region, CMB launched The Equity Initiative: Transformative Leadership for Health Equity in January 2016, in partnership with The Atlantic Philanthropies. The Equity Initiative aims to develop 500 health leaders for health equity in Southeast Asia over the next two decades through peer, experiential, and online learning. The initiative is linked to global and regional institutions and partners, world-class expertise and knowledge, with long-term vision and committed sustained support, backed by a pooled fund from CMB and The Atlantic Philanthropies.
Equity Fellows are mid-career professionals working in government, NGO, academic, and private business sectors, drawn from across ASEAN and China with a focus on the neighboring provinces of Guangxi and Yunnan. The fellowship year includes an opening retreat, a global learning trip to the United States and another country outside Southeast Asia, a study tour within the Greater Mekong countries to visit innovative health NGOs in the field, a project accelerator workshop to help fellows design their post-fellowship projects, and a final conference that brings fellows and allies together for community-building, backed by continuous online learning.