- 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.
- 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.