The world is still unprepared for future epidemics and pandemics. According to the new 2021 Global Health Security (GHS) Index, which was announced on December 8, 2021, countries of all income levels are critically unprepared to deal with future epidemic and pandemic threats.
The world’s overall performance on the GHS Index score fell to 38.9 (out of 100) in 2021, down from 40.2 in 2019.
This is despite the fact that infectious diseases are predicted to have the greatest impact on the global economy during the next decade.
Since 2019, the performance of 101 high-, middles -, and low-income countries, including India, has deteriorated.
India, with a score of 42.8 (out of 100) in South Asia, has also dropped by 0.8 points since 2019. Three neighboring countries, however, have increased their scores by 1-1.2 points: Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives.
According to the research, no country scored in the top tier of rankings in 2021, and no country scored higher than 75.9.
The document was issued in collaboration with the non-profit Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
All countries lacked enough healthcare capacity. According to the Index, which examined 195 countries’ capacity to prepare for epidemics and pandemics, this left the globe extremely susceptible to future health calamities.
Sixty-five percent of the nations studied had neither developed or implemented a comprehensive national public health emergency response strategy for diseases with epidemic or pandemic potential.
During a public health emergency, 73% of countries were unable to give accelerated authorization for medical countermeasures like vaccines and antiviral medications.
As a result, the world was extremely vulnerable to future health crises. According to the second edition of the GHS Index, they included pandemics that could be far more deadly than the novel coronavirus illness (COVID-19).
The GHS Index 2021 findings are based on a redesigned methodology and improved data gathering between August 2020 and June 2021.
Using instantly available information, it assessed countries across six categories, 37 indicators, and 171 questions.
According to the GHS Index 2021, most nations, especially high-income ones, have not made targeted financial investments in increasing epidemic or pandemic preparation.
It was discovered that over 79% of the 195 nations studied had not dedicated national money in the previous three years to increase their capacity to confront epidemic threats.
In fact, just two low-income countries have made allocations. 90 countries have failed to make their full financial commitment to the World Health Organization. Fourteen of them are high-income nations.
Over the last five years, just one-fourth of the nations included in the Index have released an updated health workforce strategy to address the lack of health workers.
Health emergencies necessitate a strong public health infrastructure with strong governance. However, trust in government, which has been linked to success in countries’ responses to COVID-19, is low and declining, according to the index.
According to the Index, 82% of countries have low to moderate levels of public trust in their government.
The world’s performance in transmitting risk communication messages to people has been highly poor as well.
More than 71% of countries did not define how risk communication messages would reach populations and sectors with varying communication needs based on language, location, and media reach.