It’s high time world leaders and concerned authorities take note of the health security of the masses. After a recent observation regarding the health safety and security of individuals, it was found that almost all countries lag necessary preventive measures to handle an epidemic or pandemic of infectious diseases. Let’s dig deeper to find out more about the current national security scenario in the world.

How well is the world prepared for infectious diseases? 

The Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), undertook the maiden research project Global Health Security (GHS) Index. Released in October 2019, the study reveals that not a single nation in the world is well-prepared enough to detect, prevent, and resolve any major infectious disease

The overall average GHS Index score overall stands low at 40.2, out of a maximum possible score of 100. On a more shocking note, even the 60 most developed nations have an average score of 51.9. 

The GHS Index is an assessment of nations across several parameters of public information. With health security being at the heart of it, the GHS Index highlights its importance with reference to other factors like political and security risks, healthcare systems, and compliance to global norms at times of outbreaks.

Also, the GHS index can be the most powerful tool for the citizens as well as the society to have their respective government officials responsible when it comes to facing an epidemic

According to NTI CO-Chair and CEO Ernest J. Moniz, “The results are alarming: All countries – at all income levels – have major gaps in their capabilities, and they aren’t sufficiently investing in biological preparedness”. Both science and the government have to work together to ensure that every nation is well-equipped to fight back to any epidemic breakout

What are the top findings?

The following findings were derived:

  • Not a single nation is completely ready to face challenging situations like a catastrophic biological event, like for instance, Ebola. This is especially when such an outbreak could be a result of a totally new or an emerging virus, or due to an accidental release of a lab-engineered organism.
  • As far as dangerous biological materials are considered, around 92% of nations do not own any kind of security check for personnel access. The remainder countries have neither tested the importance of health security capacities nor seem to be interested in showing their preparedness for such any crisis. 
  • Merely around 5% of the countries are keen to test their emergency operations. 
  • A few countries have still not allotted funds to manage outbreaks. 
  • Senior leaders of around 10% of the countries have committed to improving their local or global healthcare systems. 

What are the recommendations?

The following recommendations were derived:

  • The government of every country must make commitments to resolve health security risks as much as possible.
  • The health security scenario should be open, transparent, and measurable, with the public being completely aware of the results. 
  • World leaders should collaborate to enhance the healthcare systems and try bridging the gap between security and public health authorities. 
  • Every nation should test its health security measures and have the common public abreast with the latest information.
  • Governments should seek new sources of funds to create and make necessary changes to the existing healthcare ecosystem. 

Despite several advancements and adequate resources, no country in the world is fully equipped to manage their people in case a serious infectious disease breaks out. It’s high time that our world leaders get into action sooner and take preventive measures to save the masses.