Global Health Security Index

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The Global Health Security Indexis 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).[1]


The index was first published in 2019 and said , among other things, that "no country is fully prepared for epidemics or pandemics, and every country has important gaps to address".[2] The countries in the category "most prepared" were - in alphabetical order - Australia, Canada, Finland, France, the Netherlands, South Korea, Sweden, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States. The United States was ranked first with an index value of 83.5 out of 100. The largest number of countries in the category "least prepared" was in Western and Central Africa.[3]

The GHS index came to prominence during the 2020 outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The map was used by President Donald Trump as part of his argument that the United States was the best prepared country in the world for a pandemic; one of the consultants who worked on the project said that while the while the US does rank at the top for the index, there were areas for improvement.[4] An article in The Lancet attacked the report, saying that countries which were ranked the most prepared, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, fared worse amid the pandemic than countries in Asia and Africa which ranked lower.[5]; the index published an article in the wake of the pandemic which said that the position of the United States on the GHS Index Score did not reflect its preparedness to respond to potentially catastrophic infectious disease outbreaks.[6]


The report is based on a questionnaire of 140 questions, organized across 6 categories, 34 indicators, and 85 subindicators. The six categories are:

  • Prevention: Prevention of the emergence or release of pathogens
  • Detection and Reporting: Early detection and reporting for epidemics of potential international concern
  • Rapid Response: Rapid response to and mitigation of the spread of an epidemic
  • Health System: Sufficient and robust health system to treat the sick and protect health workers
  • Compliance with International Norms: Commitments to improving national capacity, financing plans to address gaps, and adhering to global norms
  • Risk Environment: Overall risk environment and country vulnerability to biological threats

The index relies entirely on open-source information. The researchers worked with an international advisory panel of 21 experts from 13 countries.[7]


The development of the index was funded by, among others, the Open Philanthropy Project, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Robertson Foundation.[7]


  1. ^ "GHS Index: Findings and Recommendations". Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  2. ^ "GHS Index: Findings and Recommendations". Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  3. ^ "GHS Index: Findings and Recommendations". Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  4. ^ Brueck, Hilary. "Trump held up a map showing the US is the best prepared country in the world for a pandemic, but only for the rich, influential, and fully insured". Business Insider. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  5. ^ Dalglish, Sarah (March 26, 2020). "COVID-19 gives the lie to global health expertise". The Lancet. 395 (10231): 1189. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30739-X. PMC 7194526. PMID 32222159. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  6. ^ "The U.S. and COVID-19: Leading the World by GHS Index Score, not by Response". GHSI. April 27, 2020. Given that overall finding, it is important to dispel misconceptions regarding the score of 83.5 (out of a possible 100) received by the United States. Although the United States received the top score of 195 countries assessed and was ranked number one, its score and rank do not indicate that the country is adequately prepared to respond to potentially catastrophic infectious disease outbreaks. Significant preparedness gaps remain, and some of those are playing out in the current crisis. The United States’ response to the COVID-19 outbreak to date shows that capacity alone is insufficient if that capacity isn’t fully leveraged. Strong health systems must be in place to serve all populations, and effective political leadership that instills confidence in the government’s response is crucial.
  7. ^ a b "GHS Index: About". Retrieved 29 February 2020.

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