Over the past couple of months, Malaysia has seen the onslaught of viral diseases, from influenza A to the now-global Wuhan virus pandemic. While many underestimate our country’s ability to protect the health and safety of the citizens, you’ll be surprised to find out that we actually fare better than the majority.
Towards the end of last year, the Global Health Security Index that ranks countries according to their level of preparation for major infectious disease outbreaks published a report revealing Malaysia at the 18th spot out of 195 countries, a ranking that is notably higher than Singapore (24th), Japan (21st), and Indonesia (30th).
While our country doesn’t fall into the category of “most prepared” for pandemic outbreaks, we do clinch the next category of “more prepared” nations. The first three nations ranked “best prepared for a major infectious disease outbreak” are the United States, United Kingdom and Netherlands.
According to the Straits Times, the study looks at six categories: prevention, detection, response, health system, commitment to improve, and vulnerability to biological threats.
Malaysia scored full marks in linking public health and security authorities, trade and travel restrictions, communication with healthcare workers during a public health emergency, infection control practices and availability of equipment, and cross-border agreements on public health emergency responses.
However, we achieved a significantly lower score for healthcare access (101th placing) and public health vulnerabilities (71st placing).
While Malaysia holds a notable ranking above the majority of our Southeast Asian neighbours, Thailand’s ranking is the most impressive, having managed to clinch the 6th spot amongst the top ten countries most prepared for a pandemic viral catastrophe. That’s an impressive ranking given that they are the only non-high income country to make it to the top tier.
If you want to know more about the Global Health Security Index, visit this site!
World rankings are important but we want to know what you guys think about this. Do you feel like we’ve handled the current spread of the Wuhan epidemic well? Does it reflect in these results? Let us know in the comments!
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