top of page

Global Health Security Index 2021

As per the website of the Global Security Index, Global Health Security (GHS) Index is 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 (IHR [2005]).

The GHS Index is a project of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and was developed with Economist Impact. The GHS Index aims to spur measurable changes in national health security and improve international capability to address one of the world’s most omnipresent risks: infectious disease outbreaks that can lead to international epidemics and pandemics.

What is the GHS Index?

WHO: 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.

WHAT: 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.

HOW: 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.

Evolution and Importance of the GHS Index

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.

International Panel of Experts

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.

bottom of page