The GHS Index Toolkit: What the GHS Index Is and How to Use It
  • Analysis
  • May 2, 2022

The Global Health Security (GHS) Index, developed by the Nuclear Threat Initiative and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security with Economist Impact, was first launched in October 2019 followed by the second publication in December 2021. The Index measures 195 countries’ capacities to detect, respond to, and respond from biological threats as well as political and social-economic risks, healthcare system strength, and country adherence to global norms and financing.

The GHS Index scores countries based on more than 60,000 data points. These data are available to explore in a number of formats, outlined below.

Full Report

The GHS Index Report, released in December 2021, features key findings from the global data, recommendations, and each country’s scores and rankings across each of the six categories measured within the Index. Researchers and academics alike can use the full report to determine a country’s ranking and score overall and for each of the six categories.

Data Model

The data model for the GHS Index is available for download on the GHS Index website. In Excel file format, the model has a number of prebuilt data visualization and analytic pages to explore. The model contains both the 2019 and 2021 data, and users can toggle between the editions at the top of the file.

The first tab in the model displays scores and rankings for each of the 195 countries assessed. Each category, indicator, and subindicator can be selected from the dropdown menu, and the countries shown on both the map and in the ranking list, can be filtered down by income, population, geographic region and/or democracy level. The Findings in Detail page within the Scores & Rankings tab allows users to select a country, select an indicator category and an indicator, and discover the country’s score for that indicator, score justification, and references.

The second tab is the Data Explorer. On the Country Scorecard page, this tab visualizes a country’s score for each category, indicator, and subindicator on a linear plot to show where the country falls in comparison to the rest of the word. Filters for income level, population, region, and more are available to select. The Country Compare page shows score and rank comparisons for up to four countries. The Region Compare page shows aggregate score comparisons between regions; regions can be built by income, population, or Joint External Evaluation (JEE) status or by United Nations group, World Health Organization region, or World Bank region.

The last tab is titled Analytic Options. This tab can be used to display scatter plots and correlations between indicators. Users can also change the weights of categories, indicators, and sub-indicators. User-selected weights can be saved as a weight profile and used on other tabs in the model for future analysis. Lastly, the tab shows which countries are in which filter group. Users are able to create their own filter groups to use in the model as well.

Country Profile

Each country assessed by the GHS Index’s has a Country Profile on the GHS Index website. This can be found by clicking the “Countries” dropdown on the website, selecting the country, and clicking “Go to Country.” The Country Profile is an easily digestible summary of the country’s category and indicator scores, current year ranking, and score change from 2019. Indicators are defined in each row’s dropdown, along with the sub-indicators that determined the score. This page also offers a variety of helpful, downloadable summaries of a country’s scores.

Country Profile Summary

Linked to on the Country Profile is a PDF Country Profile Summary Report. These are available for download and show a country’s 2019 Index score, 2021 Index score, and the 2021 global average for each category and indicator. The country’s aggregate index score and ranking, as well as a visual comparison to the global average category scores, are also shown. This summary can be useful for decision-makers needing high level overview of a country’s GHS Index scores relative to the global average.

Country Justification Summary

The Country Score Justification and References sheet is also linked on each country’s profile page. Available for download, the Justification Summary contains each question asked to determine a country’s score for the Index, the score given for each question, and a justification for each score. Also included are links to the publicly available policy documents and data used to determine each score. This Justification Summary can be useful for a more in-depth review of the available public information informing the scores for each question asked in the GHS Index.

Raw Data Files

Raw data files for use in individual analyses is available to be downloaded on the Report & Data page of the GHS Index Website. These CSV files contain both the 2019 and 2021 overall, indicator category, indicator, and sub-indicator scores for every country assessed.


The GHS Index Methodology Report summarizes changes between the 2019 and 2021 Indices, the scoring criteria and categories, and the process by which each country is scored and data are validated. Sources used to answer each indicator’s questions are also summarized.

Do you have questions about the 2021 Global Health Security Index? Please reach out to [email protected] with any comments, questions, or concerns.