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100 Countries Now Know How Prepared They Are for Next Outbreak: Time to Close the Gaps

(New York, NY) The world has reached a new milestone in epidemic preparedness. One hundred countries have now completed a Joint External Evaluation (JEE), the world’s gold standard for evaluating how prepared a country is to find, stop and prevent an epidemic. The JEE helps countries determine which preparedness gaps are most important to fill in order to reduce epidemic risk, and how to fill these gaps.

“Congratulations to the 100 countries that completed the JEE. Five years ago, this seemed like a nearly impossible goal,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies. “JEEs are pointing the way to a safer world. As we shift from evaluation to action – governments, civil society and donors need to urgently step up readiness.”

The 100th JEE was completed by Haiti, one of the first countries in the Americas to complete the exercise.

“100 countries have completed the JEE, and 7,000 gaps have been identified,” said Amanda McClelland, Senior Vice President of the Prevent Epidemics team at Resolve to Save Lives. “As we celebrate this success, we can’t lose sight of the work ahead of us. Once countries complete a JEE, that’s when the real work begins⁠—closing the gaps identified by the assessment to ensure we’re better prepared tomorrow.”

PreventEpidemic.org, a website created by Resolve to Save Lives, uses JEE data to show how prepared each country is for the next epidemic, and provides advocacy tools to encourage governments to fill preparedness gaps.

Additional information:

The Joint External Evaluation (JEE) is a comprehensive, standardized and transparent assessment of a country’s ability to find, stop and prevent disease threats, conducted first by a group of domestic experts and then validated by an external group of independent international experts. Similar to a report card, 19 areas of epidemic preparedness and response ability are assessed and then scored. The assessment is voluntary, initiated by a country, conducted approximately every five years, and the results are published by the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO also uses other processes, including mandated annual self-reporting (the results of which are also presented on this site), simulation exercises, and after-action reviews to help countries assess and identify areas for improvement in preparedness and response.

Media Contact:

Erin Sykes, Resolve to Save Lives: esykes@resolvetosavelives.org; +1.646.612.0001

Christina Honeysett, Vital Strategies: choneysett@vitalstrategies.org; +1.914.424.3356

About Resolve to Save Lives

Resolve to Save Lives is a five-year, $225 million campaign funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Gates Philanthropy Partners, which is funded with support from the Chan Zuckerberg Foundation. It is led by Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and housed at Vital Strategies.

To find out more visit: https://www.resolvetosavelives.org or Twitter @ResolveTSL

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. Our programs reach 73 countries and help prevent death and illness from noncommunicable disease, reduce harm caused by environmental factors, and support cities as engines for public health progress. We consult with governments on issues including restricting junk food marketing to kids, promoting smoke-free laws, improving indoor and outdoor air quality, and strengthening road safety. These are protections that can save millions of lives. Our team combines evidence-based strategies with innovation to help develop and implement sound public health policies, manage programs efficiently, strengthen data systems, conduct research, and design strategic communication campaigns for policy and behavior change.

To find out more, please visit www.vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat.