Source BCG — 1st phase of the Pandemic

Pandemic Proof Health Systems (PPHS)

By Joaquim Cardoso (JC)


On this weekend of February 13th, 2020, we are starting a series on Pandemic Proof Health Systems (PPHS).
The objective is to publish articles about the Lessons Learned from the Covid-19 Pandemic, that can be used for finishing the fight against the virus, and help prevent the next pandemic. Most of the publications will be a republication of existing material of good content, with the proper citation of the sources. At the end of this journey, or after some stages of it, we plan then to organize the publications, and edit them by topic.

We hope you follow us on this journey, help influence and participate in the transformations Health Systems need globally.
We also appreciate if you want to make contributions to the content of this series.

Soli Deo Glory,
Joaquim Cardoso (JC)

The motivation for the PPHS Series

When the Covid-19 started in 2020 there was no comprehensive guide book to fight the pandemic.
We started doing research about previous pandemics to help in the planning and fighting of this pandemic, but the information was useful but not sufficient. There was also the problem of the “fake news”, that continues to be an issue.

Countries were not prepared for the Covid-19 pandemic

“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has devastated many countries with ripple effects felt in various sectors of the global economy. In November 2019, the Global Health Security (GHS) Index was released as the first detailed assessment and benchmarking of 195 countries to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats.” [1]

The 2019 Global Security Index report — developed to measure the Preparedness Index of Countries against Pandemics — starts with this introduction:

“Biological threats — natural, intentional, or accidental — in any country can pose risks to global health, international security, and the worldwide economy.
Because infectious diseases know no borders, all countries must prioritize and exercise the capabilities required to prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to public health emergencies.
Every country also must be transparent about its capabilities to assure neighbors it can stop an outbreak from becoming an international catastrophe.
In turn, global leaders and international organizations bear a collective responsibility for developing and maintaining robust global capability to counter infectious disease threats.
This capability includes ensuring that financing is available to fill gaps in epidemic and pandemic preparedness. These steps will save lives and achieve a safer and more secure world.” [2]

On October 2020, Abbey et al published a paper presenting the first comparison of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development OECD countries’ performance during the pandemic, with the pre-COVID-19 pandemic preparedness as determined by the GHS Index.

Their findings suggest a discrepancy between the GHS index rating and the actual performance of countries during this pandemic, with an overestimation of the preparedness of some countries scoring highly on the GHS index and underestimation of the preparedness of other countries with relatively lower scores on the GHS index.

Proposed approach

We propose here to document the lessons learned of the Covid-19 pandemic, and even previous pandemics, to help apply them for finishing the fight against this pandemic, and to develop a Pandemic Proof Health Care System (PPHCS), against the next pandemics that will come, reducing dramatically the cost of lifes and the financial economic burden.

About the author:

Joaquim Cardoso (JC)
Senior Advisor for Health Care to BCG — Boston Consulting Group


[1] Introduction of: Abbey EJ, Khalifa BAA, Oduwole MO, Ayeh SK, Nudotor RD, Salia EL, et al. (2020) The Global Health Security Index is not predictive of coronavirus pandemic responses among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries. PLoS ONE 15(10): e0239398. pone.0239398

[2] Excerpt from:



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Joaquim Cardoso @ BCG

Joaquim Cardoso @ BCG

Senior Advisor for Health Care Strategy to BCG — Boston Consulting Group