Pillar Three | Capacity Building

  • Strengthening Capacity for Local Decision Making

    While the global health effort is led largely from countries and institutions in the Global North, the significant burden of disease and poor health is experienced by populations in the Global South. Proposed solutions and interventions therefore often fail due to inappropriate consideration of local contexts. At the same time, health transcends borders requiring collective action and continual translation of the best evidence to inform action-oriented policy solutions that promote and improve health, reduce health disparities, and protect against global threats.

    Photo by UNMIT/Martine Perret

    In the face of rapid economic growth from low to middle-income status and rapid urbanisation, Malaysia has achieved a high functioning health system, comprehensive primary health care infrastructure and a convincing report card on the achievement of Universal Health Coverage. UNU-IIGH’s decade long partnership with the Malaysian government leverages the country’s remarkable progress in improving health outcomes to form a platform for South-South engagement and learning.

    In the current strategic period, UNU-IIGH will expand its network, activities and reach with the aim to serve as a South-South learning hub for global health.

    • Consolidate (2019-2020)

    UNU-IIGH will work with its Malaysian partners to consolidate the rich body of evidence that has been generated and distil key learning from the Malaysian health system that can inform policies in other low- and middle-income settings. UNU-IIGH will also support the Consortium to optimise the training it offers, including in implementation research, human rights in health, and global health governance, such that Malaysia can serve as a Southern “place-based” learning lab for low- and middle-income countries in the region and globally.

    • Deliver (2021-2023)

    With Malaysia as the base, UNU-IIGH will support the Consortium in the roll-out and delivery of trainings and other efforts to strengthen capacity for decision-making in the region and the Global South.

    Malaysian Global Health Consortium

    What is MGHC?

    The Malaysian Global Health Consortium (MGHC) is a network that brings together policy- makers and researchers from the government, non-government and higher education sectors to collaborate and contribute to improving global health challenges through training, development of knowledge products, research, service and advocacy. The MGHC is hosted by the United Nations University International Institute for Global Health (UNU-IIGH). With its location in a middle-income country in Asia, it is ideally placed to support South-South models of collaboration and capacity building.

    The first MGHC meeting at MiGHT, Cyberjaya. (Photo by UNU-IIGH)

    A Broad Agenda

    The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) highlight the need for effective engagement across sectors and disciplines. The consortium as a “neutral broker” supports and generates the rigorous evidence and advocacy materials required to address various health priorities, such as preventative and promotive health; social determinants of health; healthy ageing; behaviour change; culture in health and illness; health financing; technology and health; global health diplomacy; and human rights in health.

    The Consortium benefits from the strong engagement of national, regional and global policy-makers, academics and professional associations to tackle health challenges across the Sustainable Development Goals. As a member of the UN family, UNU-IIGH serves as a bridge to leverage this knowledge and skills for the UN system and Member States more broadly – in particular, to support capacity building for evidence-based decision-making in low- and middle-income countries.

    It also offers the opportunity for health policy and research communities to work together with other stakeholders, including communities and the private sector, to address global health challenges.

    Partnership with UNU-IIGH

    UNU-IIGH supports the partnership through a range of activities, including by jointly developing knowledge products (textbooks, peer-reviewed manuscripts, policy and evidence briefs), hosting seminars and forums to facilitate networking, serving as a hub for communities of interest and supporting a platform for dialogue and critical thinking. It also hosts fellows and provides early career internships as a means of investing in and growing global health leadership capacity.

    Malaysian SDG Academic Network

    The Malaysian SDG Academic Network was officially launched on November 7, 2019 at the National SDG Summit co-hosted by UNCT and the Ministry of Economic Affairs. This Academy will provide the space for public and private universities and other relevant stakeholders to share knowledge, capacity and evidence related to the SDGs.

    Malaysian SDG Academic Network launch at the National SDG Summit, November 2019

    This network committed to collectively share experience in localizing SDGs and find sustainable solutions in the Malaysian context and provide thought leadership in such areas. The steering committee is duty-bound and has the necessary expertise to assess the current and potential impact of national policies and programs on SDGs. The network will also work with all stakeholders to generate, translate and disseminate knowledge that identifies SDG priorities, assesses policy options and gives inputs for the intervention by the relevant stakeholders.

    UNU-IIGH is currently the Secretariat and has played a crucial role in the forming, launch and growth of the Malaysian SDG Academic Network.


    1. Local Capacity Building

    2. Mapping implementation research trends in the WHO regions: Text mining of MOOC research letters of intent

    3. Systems Thinking Analysis for Health System Development – a Malaysian Case Study

    4. Systems Thinking and place-based methods for healthier Malaysian cities (SCHEMA)

    5. Proto Policy Asia


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