South Africa is the most prepared of all African countries to respond to epidemics and pandemics, according to a recent report.
The new Global Health Security Index ranked South Africa as 34th out of 195 countries, the highest-scoring on the continent.
The index assesses factors critical to dealing with threats which have the potential to eliminate humanity. These factors include robust health systems, adherence to global norms, and political and security risks. It also measures public confidence in government.
The average overall index score was 40.2, with the top-scoring country, the US, scoring 83.5 out of a possible 100.
South Africa scored 54.8 and was among a number of middle- and low-income countries that scored above some wealthy countries.
South Africa scored well in five of the six categories; however, was found to have poor compliance with global norms. South Africa scored poorly on its financing rating.
Kenya was the second-highest ranked African country, ranked in 55th place.
The index found that “collectively, international preparedness for epidemics and pandemics remains very weak”.
The index is a project of the Nuclear Threat Initiative and the Johns Hopkins Centre for Health Security in the US.
More than 100 researchers spent a year collecting and validating data, according to TimesLive.
The report calls on the UN secretary-general to set up a permanent unit for high-consequence biological threats and call a heads-of-state-level summit by 2021 on biological threats.
– Compiled by Nicole McCain