Since the release of the 2019 GHS Index, New Zealand has made improvements in detection and reporting and compliance with international norms, which led to it jumping up 12 positions in rank. In particular, New Zealand showed increased capacity across laboratory system strength and quality, supply chains, and epidemiological workforce.
Its response to the COVID-19 pandemic also highlights the capacities it was able to leverage and develop to respond swiftly and communicate the risk effectively. Country leaders cited preparedness assessments, specifically the GHS Index, as providing the roadmap and impetus for their exemplary performance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Siouxsie Wiles, a renowned infectious disease expert and advisor to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, told the Winnipeg Free Press that the GHS Index report “really saved us” as New Zealand implemented a transparent and science-based decision-making process to lock down the country to eliminate the novel coronavirus. “The GHS Index and the unmitigated willingness of key decision makers to own the country’s shortcomings may have spared the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of Kiwis,” the newspaper reported.
By 2020, New Zealand had undergone a Joint External Evaluation and made the report publicly available. The information on the prevention, detection, and response capacities as evaluated by the JEE is included as a key data source for the 2021 GHS Index and is part of the reason for New Zealand’s increase in score.