These are the countries best prepared for health emergencies

viruses_

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: David Elliott, Senior Writer, Formative Content


  • The Global Health Security Index lists the countries best prepared for an epidemic or pandemic.
  • National health security is fundamentally weak around the world, it says, and nowhere is fully prepared to handle such an outbreak.
  • Global biological risks are in many cases growing faster than governments and science can keep up.
  • The international community must work together to ensure all countries are prepared to respond to these risks, it says.

Two years ago the director general of the World Health Organization silenced the audience at the World Government Summit with the view that a devastating epidemic could start in any country at any time – and that the world would not be prepared.

Today, with the globe in the grip of coronavirus, those comments seem even more prescient.

The current outbreak is nowhere near the scale of the situation Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus described to leaders at the Dubai summit, in which as many as 100 million people could die. But it has brought one question into sharp focus: just how prepared are we for a pandemic?

 

Not enough, according to the Global Health Security Index, a report from the Nuclear Threat Initiative, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and the Economist Intelligence Unit released in October 2019.

The 195-country study finds national health security to be “fundamentally weak” around the world. No nation is fully prepared to handle an epidemic or pandemic, it says.

Which countries are best prepared?

The report uses public information to assess each country’s ability to prevent, detect and respond to health emergencies. The index measures countries’ capabilities from 0-100, with 100 representing the highest level of preparedness.

The Countries Best Prepared To Deal With A Pandemic
How countries around the world rank when it comes to dealing with a pandemic
Image: Statista

On this scale, the US is the “most prepared” nation (scoring 83.5), with the UK (77.9), the Netherlands (75.6), Australia (75.5) and Canada (75.3) behind it. Thailand and South Korea are the only countries outside of the West that rank in this category.

Much of Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Asia and Central and South America are described as “more prepared,” with scores between 66 and 34.3, while the majority of countries ranked “least prepared” are in Africa. North Korea (17.5), Somalia (16.6) and Equatorial Guinea (16.2) are listed in the index’s bottom three.

China – which is at the centre of the recent coronavirus outbreak – is in 51st place, scoring 48.2.

What is the World Economic Forum doing about epidemics?

Epidemics are a huge threat to health and the economy: the vast spread of disease can literally destroy societies.

In 2017, at our Annual Meeting, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) was launched – bringing together experts from government, business, health, academia and civil society to accelerate the development of vaccines against emerging infectious diseases and to enable access to them during outbreaks.

Our world needs stronger, unified responses to major health threats. By creating alliances and coalitions like CEPI, which involve expertise, funding and other support, we are able to collectively address the most pressing global health challenges.

Is your organisation interested in working with the World Economic Forum to tackle global health issues? Find out more here.

What needs to be done?

Collectively, international preparedness is “very weak.” The index’s average overall score is 40.2, which rises to 51.9 for high-income countries – a situation the report describes as alarming.

So what can be done? The report emphasizes that health security is a collective responsibility.

It recommends governments commit to action to address health security risks, that every country’s health security capacity should be measured regularly and transparently, and that the international community works together to tackle biological threats, with a focus on financing and emergency response.

This kind of action will become even more necessary. The number and diversity of epidemic events has increased over the past 30 years, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Health Security: Epidemics Readiness Accelerator.

The trend is expected to intensify. As globalization brings increasing trade, travel and population density, and as problems such as deforestation and climate change grow, we enter a new era in the risk of epidemic events, it says.

Stronger, unified responses to these threats – such as that displayed by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations when it moved to rapidly form partnerships to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus – will be of vital importance.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Somalis ‘will not be deterred’ by Friday’s terror attacks – UN chief

The Catcher in the Rice

Heat stress spike predicted to cost global economy $2,400 billion a year

Brexit and migration dominates the debate on October’s EU summit

Plans to keep EU budget funding in 2020 in the event of a no-deal Brexit

EU car manufacturers worry about an FTA with Japan

Brexit: EP Group leaders support a flexible extension until 31/1/20

The Europeans with a job diminish dangerously

Turkey needs to step up investment in renewables to curb emissions

In Afghanistan, attacks against schools have tripled in one year

As human caravan moves through Mexico, ‘full respect’ needed for national control of borders: UN chief

Independent UN rights experts call for ‘immediate investigation’ into alleged Bezos phone hack by Saudi Arabia

Parliament makes it easier to organise a European Citizens’ Initiative

Young activists do the talking as UN marks World Children’s Day

What makes America the world’s most competitive economy?

4 things President Trump could learn from Jimmy Carter

Climate emergency: City mayors are ‘world’s first responders’, says UN chief

North Sea fisheries: MEPs back EU plan to sustain stocks of demersal species

Six months into DR Congo’s deadliest Ebola outbreak, top UN official praises ‘brave’ response effort

Global Citizen-Volunteer Internships

Wednesday’s Daily brief: Day 3 of anti-hatred summit, UNFPA turns 50, Ben Stiller #WithRefugees, updates on Abyei

Mankind’s first tool to fight malaria also kills

UN relief chief urges Security Council to back aid delivery, more funding for millions of Syrians hit by harsh weather

Mali facing ‘alarming’ rise in rights violations, warns UN expert

The future of manufacturing is smart, secure and stable

When is Berlin telling the truth about the EU banking union?

Wednesday’s Daily Brief: Guterres in Kenya, Prisoners sick in Iran, #GlobalGoals, Myanmar, Ukraine updates, and new space partnership

Don’t let smoking steal life’s breathtaking moments, urges UN health agency

Millions of Bangladeshi children at risk from climate crisis, warns UNICEF

Somalia: UN urges steps to ensure future elections not ‘marred’ by rights abuses seen in recent polls

THE ROAD TO GANESHA

Why income inequality is bad for the climate

OECD strengthens co-operation with Morocco – Renews Morocco Country Programme Agreement

How quantum computing could beat climate change

Why do medical students need to emigrate to become doctors in 2017?

Malaysia can show the way towards a holistic model for human rights

Eurozone: Retail sales and inflation point to recession

When it comes to envirotech adoption, NGOs can lead us out of the woods

Have we reached peak smartphone?

Africa: Urgent action needed to mobilise domestic resources as tax revenues plateau

Why do US presidential elections last so long? And 4 other things you need to know

We can save our ocean in three steps – if we act now

4 bold new ways New York is going clean and green

Denmark plans ‘Silicon Valley’ on 9 artificial islands off Copenhagen

Joint EU-U.S. statement following the EU-U.S. Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting

A win-win strategy for private equity deals

Humanitarian visas would reduce refugees’ death toll

5 libraries doing innovative things to help their communities

A Young student assesses the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)

UN condemns Syrian ‘war on children’ as up to 30 reportedly killed in clashes

Smart devices must come with trust already installed

Reusable packaging: 6 benefits beyond sustainability

Commission: Gifts of €6 billion and free trainees to ‘help’ poor employers

Air pollution could be responsible for 1 in 7 new cases of diabetes

Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into PKN Orlen’s proposed acquisition of Lotos

Community Manager – 1289

Alarming level of reprisals against activists, human rights defenders, and victims – new UN report

How to turn Africa’s manufacturing sector into a high-tech powerhouse

5 lessons for the future success of virtual and augmented reality

What makes a great CEO? The people they surround themselves with

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s