The Importance of Data Transparency
  • Analysis
  • December 8, 2021

Data related to epidemic and pandemic preparedness, such as disease surveillance, health system, and response capacity data, should be publicly available so that officials within and beyond country borders understand the nature and magnitude of the threat and the tools available to contain it.

Data transparency allows for better decision making related to, but not limited to, healthcare facilities, the workforce, and medical supplies so that resources can be increased where necessary. When an outbreak starts in a country, other nations will need to understand what capacities and resources the affected country has to combat the spread of disease so that they can assess risks for their own populations and determine whether and how to offer support. Within all countries, individuals need access to the best data to understand the outbreak situation and what their government’s plans and resources are so that they can protect themselves and participate in the response meaningfully.

As has been shown with COVID-19, every country must be transparent about its capabilities to limit the spread of disease. Health security data in every country should be transparent and regularly measured. The GHS Index is based on data transparency out of the firm belief that all countries are safer and more secure if they  understand each other’s gaps in epidemic and pandemic preparedness. This means that although countries may possess certain capacities, they will not receive points toward the Index unless public evidence of those capacities exists. Countries wishing to improve their scores and ranking have the opportunity to do so by improving public access to information about their health security capacities. Since the 2019 GHS Index was published, some countries have improved the information they have publicly available and have improved scores as a result.