Epidemic Preparedness - Prevent Epidemics
Resolve to Save Lives

The world wasn’t ready for COVID-19 and isn't ready for the next big one.

The pandemic revealed critical gaps in epidemic preparedness across low-, middle- and high-income countries, resulting in devastating social, economic and health impacts.

Contact Tracing in Ethiopia

Infectious disease threats do not respect borders…


…it takes just 36 hours for an outbreak to spread around the world

In our interconnected world, we are only as safe as the weakest link. Countries must strengthen their systems to detect and respond to public health threats quickly.


COVID-19 reminded the world that a disease threat in one country can be a threat to all. Countries that prioritize and invest in systems to find, stop and prevent epidemics are better prepared — saving lives and protecting economies.


Diseases spread quickly and do not respect borders. Countries must have the infrastructure to detect infectious disease threats when they emerge in order to prevent them from becoming epidemics.


How quickly and effectively countries respond to a new outbreak matters. Countries that use their preparedness systems and can trust and rely on leaders who communicate clearly, engage with their people and use data-driven policies to slow the spread are most likely to save lives.

To Save Lives

A country’s sustained investment in and prioritization of preparedness for disease threats and readiness to act when outbreaks strike can fundamentally alter the trajectory of an epidemic and determine the number of lives, jobs and dollars saved. By one estimate, it would take just $124 billion over five years to make the world better prepared for epidemics—much less than the trillions that COVID-19 has cost us. All countries have an opportunity to improve their preparedness and response.

New York City healthcare workers expressing gratitude during COVID-19 outbreak in America.

Core Systems for Preparedness

The seven core systems for preparedness are the key technical areas we focus on to strengthen health systems so they can handle disease outbreaks. Governments must invest in and prioritize these areas to build stronger health security and prevent the next epidemic.

  1. National Laboratory System

    Country has a national laboratory system to test disease specimens and confirm outbreaks.

  2. Real-Time Surveillance

    Country can find disease outbreaks quickly.

  3. Workforce Development

    Country has a capable workforce to find, stop and prevent outbreaks.

  4. Risk Assessment and Planning

    Country has done preparedness planning and risk assessment for public health emergencies.

  5. Emergency Response Operations

    Country has emergency system to find and stop outbreaks.

  6. Risk Communication

    Countries can listen and exchange information between experts and the public effectively so that healthcare workers and the public can take protective measures.

  7. National Legislation, Policy and Financing

    Country has legislation, policy, and financing in place to support overall preparedness for prevention of epidemics.

What Is the ReadyScore?

  • Unknown ?
  • Pending
  • Not Ready 39
  • Work to do 79
  • Better Prepared 100

The ReadyScore was created by Resolve to Save Lives to show how strong a country’s epidemic preparedness systems are. The score indicates preparedness levels using data from the Joint External Evaluation (JEE). Similar to a report card, the ReadyScore is an average of the 19 areas scored by the JEE, a voluntary, transparent assessment of a country’s ability to find, stop and prevent disease threats that is first scored by a group of national experts and then by an external group of international advisors. The ReadyScore relays five levels of preparedness. Resolve to Save Lives helps countries “get to green,” or achieve a score of at least 80. This indicates a country is “better prepared” to fight infectious disease threats.

What is 7-1-7?

It’s crucial that countries act quickly when responding to outbreaks—infectious disease threats do not respect borders and can travel the world in 36 hours. One way to assess how well country systems work is by measuring a country’s response through timeliness: a start-to-end assessment of the speed with which a country detects, notifies public health authorities about and responds to suspected health threats.

As a metric, we propose 7-1-7: 7 days to detect a suspected health threat, 1 day to notify authorities and 7 days to mount an initial effective response.

Learn more about 7-1-7

Epidemics That Didn't Happen

As the world continues efforts to stop COVID-19 and better prepare for the next disease threat, these stories serve as a reminder that we can do better. Read more