With polio now confirmed in New York City’s wastewater and monkeypox having spread around the world – albeit with mortality rates remaining low – it appears that disease outbreaks are happening faster and more frequently than before.
While greater media attention has certainly heightened awareness, we’re also seeing the ripple effects of a number of factors including population growth, which means more people are living in closer proximity to potentially infected animals, climate change, which is making diseases more severe, and even the decline of vaccine coverage for other diseases over past years, as reported by the OCHA. Not to mention the fact increased trade and travel as well as rapid urbanization – where levels of contact between people is high and living conditions can be unhygenic – are also making transmission easier.
But how ready are the world’s governments for another – unfortunately, fairly inevitable – health crisis?
As Statista’s Anna Fleck details below, a survey carried out by the OECD in 2021 found that perceptions of government preparedness vary greatly around the world, with a fairly even split of opinions, favoring slightly more positive. People living in Luxembourg and Ireland, for instance, thought more highly of their government’s healthcare strategies, with 69 percent and 60 percent, respectively, saying they thought their leaders would be ready. Just over half of Brits felt the same.
In Austria, however, trust on the topic was fairly low, with 29 percent of people saying they thought their government would be ready. Japan came in with 32 percent feeling confident in the government, although a greater share than any other felt ambivalent about the issue – responding that they felt either ‘neutral’ or ‘didn’t know.’
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According to the report, public trust in government rise and fell throughout the pandemic, with a show of support for governments at the start, versus later when the death count started to rise. The authors note that the survey’s results likely correspond to the intensity of the pandemic at the time, in November 2021. They add:
“It is also worth noting that – in spite of the many challenges governments faced in effectively responding to the economic and health exigencies of the pandemic – this finding suggests that people see governments as having learned from the information gained during this experience.”
The countries surveyed included Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Luxembourg, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom.