It is important for all countries to secure themselves against infectious disease threats, including potential global catastrophic biological risks. The Global Health Security Index (GHSI), first published in 2019, is a comprehensive, objective assessment of health security capabilities across 195 States Parties to the International Health Regulations. The GHSI is a broader assessment than the World Health Organization Joint External Evaluation and emphasises public documentation of preparedness as well as sustainable capabilities. New Zealand scored 54/100 on the GHSI (35th in the world). But also worryingly, the range of scores for New Zealand's Pacific neighbours was 19.2-27.8, highlighting potential regional vulnerabilities. Clearly, the New Zealand Government needs to do more to ensure its own optimal preparedness for global biological threats, and document these preparations to assure the international community. But it should also provide additional overseas development assistance (bringing this assistance up to 0.7% of GNI as per UN recommendations) and work with Pacific Nations to enhance health security in the region.
Boyd M, Baker MG, Nelson C, Wilson N. (2020). The 2019 Global Health Security Index (GHSI) and its implications for New Zealand and Pacific regional health security. The New Zealand medical journal, 133(1516)