Jessica A. Bell
Senior Director, Global Biological Policy and Programs
Countries need to work together to control pandemics, but without an independent assessment of national health security capability, it is difficult to fully understand needs, identify gaps, and track improvements over time.
Create a Global Health Security (GHS) Index to assess country capability to prevent and mitigate high-consequence biological events.
The GHS Index highlights individual country needs, boost compliance with international standards, and create better understanding of global capabilities to prevent, detect, and respond to biological threats.
The Global Health Security (GHS) Index is an assessment and benchmarking of health security and related capabilities across 195 countries. The GHS Index, which is developed in partnership by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, working with Economist Impact, was first launched in October 2019.
The 2021 Global Health Security Index assesses countries across 6 categories, 37 indicators, and 171 questions using publicly available information. The GHS Index benchmarks health security in the context of other factors critical to fighting outbreaks, such as political and security risks, the broader strength of the health system, and country adherence to global norms.
The GHS Index is designed to inform leaders of the foundational elements that are necessary to prepare their countries for future outbreaks and where they should prioritize planning and invest durable funding. By assessing these capacities every 2-3 years, the GHS Index stimulates political will and action to prioritize addressing these gaps. The full methodology report explains how aggregating publicly available data helps to create a transparent picture of national level health security gaps.
The 2021 GHS Index framework incorporates new questions driven by the expertise of the International Panel of Experts and the GHS Index project team’s experience from the COVID-19 pandemic and past epidemics and pandemics. The conclusions of the 2021 GHS Index are the result of a revised framework and updated data collection conducted from August 2020–June 2021.
A team of more than 80 experienced field-based researchers from Economist Impact collected publicly available data focused on 6 aspects of each country’s preparedness: prevention, detection and reporting, rapid response, health systems, compliance with international norms, and risk environment. The research team studied how countries performed on external assessments against their performance during the COVID-19 pandemic, along with additional variables that influenced country responses to the pandemic to capture the most comprehensive risk profile possible.
The results of the 2021 Index show that even as many countries proved they could ramp up new capacities during the emergency—including setting up labs and creating cohorts of contact tracers to follow the spread of COVID-19—some responses were crippled by long-unaddressed weaknesses, such as lack of healthcare surge capacity and critical medical supplies.
Countries now have a more acute understanding of what this lack of preparedness means for their health and prosperity. The response to COVID-19 has shown that many factors—including public health and healthcare capacities, scientific understanding and countermeasure distribution, and social and economic resilience—play a pivotal role in how countries are able to respond during a pandemic. Click here to download a graphic illustrating the evolution of the GHS Index.
Since the inaugural edition of the GHS Index in 2019, the individuals on our International Panel of Experts have provided guidance in their personal capacities or in their capacities as representatives of advising organizations. The judgments and recommendations reflected in the GHS Index do not necessarily reflect the views of panel members or their respective employers, other affiliations, or governments. Download the list of the GHS Index International Panel of Experts.
For more information about the GHS Index, visit www.ghsindex.org
Examples from around the world of the Global Health Security Index in-use.
The World Bank launches a new fund to support pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response.
On April 21, 2022, immediately after G20 finance ministers and central bank governors reached consensus to establish a new Fund for preparedness at the World Bank, a group of leading experts and stakeholders from met to review progress and offer advice on next steps. This paper aims to inform next steps to structure, approve, and launch a new Fund, including the forthcoming consultative process led by the World Bank.
NTI joined governments and organizations from around the world for the 2nd Global COVID-19 Summit on May 12, 2022 and committed to provide $35,000 to the pandemic preparedness and global health security financial intermediary fund.
Report calls on national and global leaders to sustain and expand upon preparedness capacities developed to fight COVID-19
Despite significant steps taken by countries to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, all countries remain dangerously unprepared to meet future epidemic and pandemic threats.
Virtual | GHSIndex.org/2021launch
| 9 AM EST - 10:30 AM EST
NTI submitted a statement to the virtual COVID-19 Summit convened by President Biden, calling for bold, decisive action to stem the devastating impacts of COVID-19 globally.
A leading biochemist and top health advisor to New Zealand’s government says the 2019 Global Health Security (GHS) Index was key to the country’s successful response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The webinar aimed to inform Latin American decision makers about the GHS Index and the depth of research and international collaboration behind it.
Panel members discussed the importance of laboratory capacity, contact tracing, and political risks in expanding and weighting the pandemic-conscious report.
NTI and partners hosted virutal side events on using the GHS Index as a guide for responding to COVID-19 and on strengthening biosafety and biosecurity.
The Global Health Security Index website has been awarded for its creativity and digital excellence from leading communicators and creative professionals.
A 2020 commentary highlights the value of the Global Health Security Index as a practical tool that can help inform global policy makers and practitioners.
The U.S. was ranked first due to its high-quality labs and scientific staff, Strategic National Stockpile, and emergency distribution and communication plans.
The 2020 NTI Nuclear Security Index finds that progress on protecting nuclear materials from theft and sabotage has slowed significantly over the past two years,
To identify countries that are more vulnerable to the spread of an outbreak like COVID-19, the GHS Index team analyzed a subset of indicators within the GHS Index against global flight data.
The first comprehensive assessment of global health security capabilities in 195 countries.
The inaugural GHS Index finds severe weaknesses in countries’ abilities to prevent, detect, and respond to significant disease outbreaks and that no country is fully prepared.
The first comprehensive assessment and benchmarking of health security and related capabilities across the 195 countries that make up the States Parties to the International Health Regulations.
An NTI-Johns Hopkins article examines the full scope of academic literature to better identify evidence for measuring health security at the country level.
NTI | bio will create a Global Health Security Index to serve as an assessment of all countries’ capabilities to prevent, detect, and respond to biological events.
NTI experts Beth Cameron and Michelle Nalabandian will join hundreds of government officials and experts for the 71st World Health Assembly in Geneva.
New video makes the case for protecting America’s commitment to global health security.
New Funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Accelerates Global Health Security Index.
The interview covers the current state of play in disease control and offers advice on how to find a job where it’s possible to make an impact.
NTI's Biosecurity Program is partnering with the Next Generation GHS Network to launch a competition in preparation for the 4th Annual High Level GHSA Ministerial Meeting.
The Global Health Security Agenda is an irreplaceable and proven mechanism for promoting measurable change in preparedness to prevent and combat biological disease.
NTI's Beth Cameron was one of five advanced reviewers of the report which recommends aggressive action to analyze and finance gaps to stop outbreaks at the source.
NTI will partner on the Index with the Center for Health Security at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Economist Intelligence Unit.