Inaugural Global Health Security Index

Oct 24, 2019 | Kim Rodgers

A new Global Health Security (GHS) Index was recently released—the first comprehensive assessment and benchmarking of health security and related capabilities across 195 countries—suggests that not a single country in the world is fully prepared to handle an epidemic or pandemic. The GHS Index is a joint project of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), with research by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The Center for Health Security is a part of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The inaugural GHS Index finds severe weaknesses in countries’ abilities to prevent, detect, and respond to significant disease outbreaks. The average overall 2019 GHS Index score is slightly over 40 out of a possible score of 100. Among the 60 highest-income countries assessed, the average score is 51.9.

Jennifer Nuzzo, associate professor at the Bloomberg School and senior scholar at the Center for Health Security, said the GHS Index, developed with guidance from an International Panel of Experts from 13 countries, can be used by health ministers and international organizations, philanthropists and funders, academics and researchers.

The GHS Index assessed countries across six categories, 34 indicators, and 140 questions, using only open-source information and data from international organizations, including the World Health Organization, the World Organisation for Animal Health, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN), and the World Bank.

Top findings

  • Fewer than 7 percent of countries score in the highest tier in the category assessing the prevention of the emergence or release of pathogens.
  • Only 19 percent of countries receive top marks (scoring a 66.7 out of 100 or higher) in the category assessing early detection and reporting of epidemics of potential international concern.
  • Fewer than 5 percent of countries score in the highest tier in rapid response to and mitigation of spread of an epidemic.
  • With an average score of 26.4 out of 100, having a sufficient and robust health sector to treat the sick and protect health workers wasthe lowest-scoring category.

At a time when risks are magnified by a rapidly changing and interconnected world and rapid technology advances make it easier to create and engineer pathogens, knowing the risks is clearly not enough. Political will is needed to protect people from the consequence of epidemics, to take action to save lives, and to build a safer and more secure world.

Top recommendations

A core principle of the GHS Index is that health security is a collective responsibility. The GHS Index offers 33 recommendations for individual countries and for the international community. Recommendations include:

  • The UN Secretary-General should call a heads-of-state-level summit by 2021 on biological threats, including a focus on financing and emergency response.
  • National governments should commit to take action to address health security risks.
  • Health security capacity in every country should be transparent and regularly measured, and results should be published at least once every two years.
  • Leaders should improve coordination in insecure environments, especially linkages between security and public health authorities.
  • New financing mechanisms should be established to fill preparedness gaps, such as a new multilateral global health security matching fund and expansion of World Bank International Development Association allocations to include preparedness.
  • The UN Secretary-General should designate a permanent facilitator or unit for high-consequence biological events.
  • Countries should test their health security capacities and publish after-action reviews, at least annually.
  • Governments and donors should take into account countries’ political and security risk factors when supporting health security capacity development.

637020799465370000

About Kim Rodgers

Pronouns: She/Her

Kim Rodgers is the Communications Manager at NACCHO.

More posts by Kim Rodgers

Related Posts

Capitol Dome with Mic typeface display V3
  • Podcast

NACCHO Podcast: The Impact of the MIP Initiative on MIP...

Ian Goldstein spoke with African American Infant and Maternal Mortality...

May 20, 2022 | Ian Goldstein

NACCHO Podcast: The Impact of the MIP Initiative on MIP...

Webinar
  • COVID-19
  • Webinar

Webinar: Introducing VIRA: A Bilingual, Customizable...

Join this webinar on Thursday, May 26, 3:00-4:00 PM ET.

May 19, 2022 | Beth Hess

Webinar: Introducing VIRA: A Bilingual, Customizable...

Zikabug 500px
  • Press Release

First Nationwide Baseline Assessment of Local Vector...

Findings highlight improvements in efforts to prevent mosquito- and tick-borne...

May 18, 2022 | Anu Varma

First Nationwide Baseline Assessment of Local Vector...

Trailer web
  • Medical Reserve Corps

Leveraging the Talents of a Scalable, Multi-Functional...

While continuing to provide COVID-19 support, the Rhode Island Medical Reserve...

May 18, 2022 | Beth Hess

Leveraging the Talents of a Scalable, Multi-Functional...

MAPP Evolution Exec Summary Report Cover V1
  • Press Release

NACCHO Announces Ten Health Department Grantees to...

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), with...

May 18, 2022 | Andrea Grenadier

NACCHO Announces Ten Health Department Grantees to...

Gun Violence Image
  • Press Release

Gun Violence and Racism Create an Intertwined Public...

This past week, multiple racially motivated violent attacks took place across...

May 18, 2022 | Andrea Grenadier

Gun Violence and Racism Create an Intertwined Public...

169550 mosquito bite must credit if using see stockxchng
  • Tools & Resources
  • Research & Reports
  • Vector Control

New Report Reveals State of Local Vector Control...

A new report detailing findings from a 2020 National Vector Control Assessment...

May 18, 2022 | Angana Roy

New Report Reveals State of Local Vector Control...

Hurricane evac
  • Tools & Resources
  • Emergency Response

Hurricane Preparedness

Now is the time to prepare your community for hurricane season, which occurs...

May 17, 2022 | Beth Hess

Hurricane Preparedness

Older adult evac
  • Tools & Resources
  • Community Resilience

Disaster Resilience for Older Americans

This May, Older American’s Month, is an opportunity to ensure residents ages 65...

May 17, 2022 | Beth Hess

Disaster Resilience for Older Americans

Back to Top