IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


11th December, 2021 Agriculture


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  • Recently, the Global Health Security (GHS) Index 2021 has been recently released.


About the Index

  • The Global Health Security Index is an assessment of global health security capabilities in 195 countries prepared by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) and the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
  • The index was first published in 2019.


  • The report is based on six categories, 37 indicators and 171 questions, using instantly available information. The six categories are:
  1. Prevention: Prevention of the emergence or release of pathogens
  2. Detection and Reporting: Early detection and reporting for epidemics of potential international concern
  3. Rapid Response: Rapid response to and mitigation of the spread of an epidemic
  4. Health System: Sufficient and robust health system to treat the sick and protect health workers
  5. Compliance with International Norms: Commitments to improving national capacity, financing plans to address gaps, and adhering to global norms
  6. Risk Environment: Overall risk environment and country vulnerability to biological threats
  • The index measures countries’ capabilities from 0-100, with 100 representing the highest level of preparedness. The GHS Index scoring system includes three tiers.
  1. Low Scores: Countries that score between 0 and 33.3 are in the bottom tier.
  2. Moderate Scores: Countries that score between 33.4 and 66.6 are in the middle tier and
  3. High Scores: Countries that score between 66.7 and 100 are in the upper or “top” tier.



  • The world’s overall performance on the GHS Index score slipped to 38.9 (out of 100) in 2021, from a score of 40.2 in the GHS Index, 2019.
  • In 2021, no country scored in the top tier of rankings and no country scored above 75.9.




  • India, with a score of 42.8 (out of 100) has slipped by 0.8 points since 2019.
  • But three neighbouring countries — Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Maldives — have improved their score by 1-1.2 points.


Overall scenario

Future Pandemic and epidemic threats

  • The world remains unprepared for future epidemic and pandemic threats.
  • Infectious diseases are expected to have the greatest impact on the global economy in the next decade.
  • Countries across all income levels remain dangerously unprepared to meet future epidemic and pandemic threats, according to the 2021 Global Health Security (GHS) Index.


Public Health emergencies

  • 65% countries did not have the ability to provide expedited approval for medical countermeasures, such as vaccines and antiviral drugs, during a public health emergency.
  • 65% per cent of assessed countries had not published and implemented an overarching national public health emergency response plan for diseases with epidemic or pandemic potential.
  • Thus, the world was acutely vulnerable to health emergencies in the future.
  • These included pandemics that could be much more devastating than the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).


Dedicated Funds

  • Most countries, including high-income ones, have not made dedicated financial investments in strengthening epidemic or pandemic preparedness.
  • Close to 79 per cent of the 195 countries assessed had not allocated national funds within the past three years to improve their capacity to address epidemic threats.
  • Just two low-income countries have allocated funds.
  • Some 90 countries have not fulfilled their full financial contribution to the World Health Organization.


Health Work Force

  • Just one-fourth of the countries considered in the Index have published an updated health workforce strategy over the past five years to address the shortage of health work force.


Public Confidence in Government

  • A whopping 82 per cent of countries have low to moderate levels of public confidence in their government, according to the Index.


Risk Communication messages

  • The world’s performance on communicating the risk communication messages to people has also been very disappointing.
  • Over 71 per cent of the countries did not identify how risk communication messages would reach populations and sectors with different communication needs related to language, location and media reach.


Allocate health security funds

  • Countries should allocate health security funds in national budgets and conduct assessments, using the 2021 GHS Index as a reference to developing a national plan to identify their risks and fill gaps;


Role of International Organizations

  • International organizations should use the Index to identify countries most in need of additional support;


Private-Public partnership

  • The private sector should use the Index to look for opportunities to partner with governments;


New financing mechanisms

  • Philanthropies and funders should develop new financing mechanisms and use the Index to prioritize resources.