Global Health Security Index

By Rajat Pandey|Updated : December 27th, 2021

About Global Health Security Index 2021:

  • It was first launched in October 2019. It is the first comprehensive assessment and benchmarking of health security and related capabilities across 195 countries.
  • The GHS Index aims to spur measurable changes in national health security and improve the international capability to address one of the world’s most omnipresent risks: infectious disease outbreaks that can lead to international epidemics and pandemics.
  • The findings of the GHS Index 2021 are based on a revised framework and updated data collection conducted between August 2020 and June 2021. It has assessed countries across six categories, 37 indicators and 171 questions, using instantly available information.

Key Highlights:  

  • The world’s overall performance on the GHS Index score slipped to9 (out of 100) in 2021, from a score of 40.2 in the GHS Index, 2019.
  • Some 101 high-middle- and low-income countries, including India, have slipped in performance since 2019.
  • The United States of America (USA) ranked 1st on the index with a score of 9 followed by Australia and Finland and Somalia ranked last on the Index.
  • In South Asia,India, with a score of 42.8 (out of 100) too, has slipped by 8 points since 2019. 
  • But three neighboring countries —Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Maldives — have improved their score by 1-1.2 points.

What are the Reasons behind low GHS Index Score?

  • All countries had insufficient health capacities. This left the world acutely vulnerable to future health emergencies.
  • All countries remain dangerously unprepared for future epidemic and pandemic threats, including threats potentially more devastating than COVID-19. 
  • In 2021, no country scored above 75.9.
  • 65 % of assessed countrieshad not published and implemented an overarching national public health emergency response plan for diseases with epidemic or pandemic potential.
  • 73 % of countries did not have the ability to provide expedited approval for medical countermeasures, such as vaccines and antiviral drugs, during a public health emergency.

Most countries, including high-income ones, have not made dedicated financial investments in strengthening epidemic or pandemic preparedness.

What are the Recommendations?

  • Prioritize the building and maintaining of health security capacities in national budgets.
  • Conduct assessments, using findings from the 2021 GHS Index, to identify their risk factors and capacity gaps, and develop a plan to address them.


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