March 21, 2023

In 6 charts: Here’s how prepared India is for the next pandemic | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Despite significant steps taken by countries to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, all nations remain dangerously unprepared to meet future epidemic and pandemic threats, according to the 2021 Global Health Security (GHS) Index.
As a measure of health security, the Index assigns the highest scores to countries with the most extensive capacities to prevent and respond to epidemics and pandemics.
The global overall score in 2021 was 38.9 out of 100, which is essentially unchanged from 2019.
The Index categorises the scores into five tiers. No country was placed in tier 5 (score of 80.1-100) in 2021, signalling that significant gaps exist in all countries and reinforcing the fact that preparedness remains fundamentally weak.

Important note

The US tops the overall list with a score of 75.9. It was ranked first in the 2019 GHS Index as well.
Despite its ranking, the US has reported the greatest number of Covid-19 cases, and its response to the pandemic has generally been viewed as extremely poor.
The result highlights that although the GHS Index can identify preparedness resources and capacities available in a country, it cannot predict whether or how well a country will use them in a crisis.

India ranks 66

India’s overall rank in 2021 is 66 with a score of 42.8.
According to the 2021 GHS Index, India’s detection and reporting procedures have improved over the last two years, but there has been little to no enhancement of its prevention protocols, health system or rapid response processes.

Here are the sobering conclusions revealed by the GHS Index in 6 charts:

The study reveals that although countries built new capacities during the Covid pandemic, many of them are temporary, Covid-19-specific measures.
The GHS Index includes six categories, each covering a range of indicators and questions.
* Prevention: The global average for the prevention of the emergence or release of pathogens is 28.4 out of 100, making it the lowest-scoring category within the GHS Index. 113 countries show little to no attention to national planning, surveillance, or reporting for zoonotic diseases — that can be transmitted from animals to humans.
India scores 29.7 in this category — which is slightly above the global average — and ranks 85 in the list. US tops the list with a score of 79.4. The data show that India lags behind in two sectors: Biosafety, and Dual-use Research and Culture of Responsible Science.

* Detection and reporting: This category shows major gaps in the strength and quality of laboratory systems, laboratory supply chain, real-time surveillance, and reporting capacities for epidemics of potential international concern. Only three countries (Australia, Thailand, and the US) scored in the top tier of early detection and reporting of epidemics of potential international concern.
Overall, India scores 43.5 in this category — 11 points above the global average — and ranks 51 in the list. It also improved its overall score by 6 points between 2019 and 2021. The sectors where it scores below the global average are: Surveillance Data Accessibility and Transparency, and Laboratory Supply Chains. Thailand tops the list with a score of 91.5.

* Rapid response: No country scored in the top tier for this category, with 58% scoring below average for rapid response to and mitigation of the spread of an epidemic. Only 69 countries have an overarching national public health emergency response plan in place that addresses planning for multiple communicable diseases with epidemic and pandemic potential.
India scores 30.3 in this category – which is below the global average of 37.6 — and ranks 139 in the list. It lags behind in three sectors: Linking Public Health and Security Authorities, Access to Communications Infrastructure, and Trade and Travel Restrictions. Finland tops the list with a score of 70.7.

* Health system: The average score in this category is 31.5 out of 100, with 73 countries scoring in the bottom tier (0-20). 69 countries have insufficient capacity at health clinics, hospitals, and community centers. 91% of countries do not have a plan, program, or guidelines in place for dispensing medical countermeasures, such as vaccines and antiviral drugs, for national use during a public health emergency. Altogether, the health systems category shows little progress since 2019 and identifies serious gaps in capacity in national-level medical workforce, facilities, and healthcare access.
India scores 15 points above the global average in this category at 46.1 and ranks 56 in the list. It has a perfect score in two sectors: Communications with Healthcare Workers During a Public Health Emergency, and Infection Control Practices. It, however, lags far behind in terms of Healthcare Access. The US once again tops the list with a score of 75.2.

* Commitments to improving national capacity, financing and global norms: 23 countries — 19 of which are high- or upper-middle-income countries — have not submitted their International health regulations reports to the World Health Organization (WHO), and only four countries have identified funding in their national budgets to address gaps identified in their WHO Joint External Evaluation (JEE). The 2021 GHS Index shows a lack of progress toward enhanced global coordination and lagging commitment to international norms, which are important for accountability and necessary for collective action in addressing the most challenging aspects of health security.
India’s score is at par with the global average in this category at 47.2 and ranks 92 in the list. It has a perfect score in International Commitments, but lags behind in two sectors: IHR Reporting Compliance, and Cross-border Agreements on Public and Animal Health Emergency Response. The US again tops the list with a score of 87.9.

* Risk environment: As seen with Covid-19, national risk environment factors, such as orderly transfer of power, social unrest, international tensions, and trust in medical and health advice from the government, can have an outsized impact on a country’s response to a public health threat. 114 countries demonstrate a moderate to very high threat of international disputes or tensions that would have a negative effect on daily operations—including public services, governing, and civil society—with 24 high-income countries scoring below the global average.
India scores slightly above the global average in this category at 60.2 and ranks 73 in the list. Norway top the list with a score of 89.

The way forward

On the basis of the findings, the report makes some recommendations that countries can follow to improve capacities and ensure that the world is prepared for the next pandemic.
Suggestions include prioritising the building and maintaining of health security capacities in national budgets; conducting assessments to identify risk factors and capacity gaps; making financial arrangements to support national action plans for public health security; undertaking a Joint External Evaluation to better understand capacity and performance gaps.
The report also recommends that countries be more transparent with their capacities and risk factors so that the public is fully aware of the situation. Increased transparency is essential for global prevention, detection, and response to epidemics and pandemics, the report added.
Research for the 2021 GHS Index was conducted between August 2020 and June 2021.

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