Pandemics are the largest killers of humankind throughout history. Right now, we are facing the HIV/AIDS pandemic which elevated to such a status back in 2006. Apart from this, the Wuhan Coronavirus we are experiencing right now might just attain a pandemic status, according to the New York Times.
In the face of such a threat, which countries are most prepared?
The countries most prepared in the face of a pandemic
195 countries were ranked based on their GHS scores. The global average is 40.2. Based on the GHS scale, this is indicative of weak preparedness.
GHS is a 0-100 scale of preparedness. The nearer a country’s GHS score is to 0, the worse prepared it is in the event of a global disease outbreak. The nearer the value is to 100, the better prepared a country.
Looking per country and we can see that the United States is the most prepared for an epidemic/pandemic. It is followed by the United Kingdom (77.9), the Netherlands (75.6), Australia (75.5), Canada (75.3), Thailand (73.2), Denmark (70.4), South Korea (70.2), and Finland (68.7).
Meanwhile, China, where the coronavirus outbreak is currently occurring falls behind at 51st place in preparedness for a pandemic, only gaining a score of 48.2, which means it isn’t best-prepared to handle an epidemic/pandemic. In addition, China’s massive population and movement of people globally complicates things.
The Global Health Security Index (GHS) is a joint project of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security (JHCHS), and the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
Ranging from 0-100, the GHS measures the overall preparedness of a country based on the following submetrics:
- Detection and Reporting
- Rapid Response
- Health System
- Compliance with international norms
- Risk environment, pertaining to a country’s vulnerability to biological threats.
In order to measure these dimensions, NTI, JHCHS, and EIU devised a survey consisting of 140 questions that fall on one of these six categories. The consolidated scores were then used to calculate the final GHS value.
Now that there is a possibility of a pandemic actually occurring, the importance of strong policy and quick response is further highlighted.
There is no certainty where an outbreak will pop out. Not only the country where a potential pandemic will originate should be fully prepared. Now that our world is so connected, it is easy for communicable diseases to spread out.
In these urgent times, a strong political will that prioritizes the health of the citizens is non-negotiable. If anything, it is an ingredient that will guarantee our victory over this impending disaster.
We should not wait until the possibility of a pandemic becomes a reality that can kill thousands or even millions. While the spread of the disease can still be suppressed, leaders should work in close coordination with local sectors and other world leaders to ensure that the spread of the disease will be halted.