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Rapid urban health security assessment tool: a new resource for evaluating local-level public health preparedness
  1. Matthew R Boyce,
  2. Rebecca Katz
  1. Center for Global Health Science & Security, Georgetown University, Washington, District of Columbia, USA
  1. Correspondence to Mr Matthew R Boyce; mb2266{at}


Urbanisation will be one of the defining demographic trends of the 21st century—creating unique opportunities for sustainable capacity development, as well as substantial risks and challenges for managing public health and health emergencies. Plans and policies for responding to public health emergencies are generally framed at higher levels of governance, but developing, improving and sustaining the capacities necessary for implementing these policies is a direct function of local-level authorities. Evaluating local-level public health capacities is an important process for identifying strengths and weaknesses that can impact the preparedness for, detection of and response to health security threats. However, while various evaluations and assessments exist for evaluating capacities at other levels, currently, there are no readily available health security assessments for the local-level. In this paper, we describe a tool—the Rapid Urban Health Security Assessment (RUHSA) Tool—that is based on a variety of other relevant assessments and guidance documents. Assessing capacities allow for local-level authorities to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their local health security systems, create multiyear action plans and prioritise opportunities for improving capacities, effectively engage with development partners to target resources effectively and develop compelling narratives and a legacy of leadership. While the RUHSA Tool was not designed to be used in the midst of a public health emergency, such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it may also be adapted to inform a checklist for prioritising what capacities and activities a city needs to rapidly develop or to help focus requests for assistance.

  • health policy
  • health systems
  • public health

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  • Handling editor Seye Abimbola

  • Twitter @mattrbo, @rebeccakatz5

  • Author Contributorship RK conducted preliminary research that formed the basis for development of the tool. MRB and RK conceptualised the tool. MRB conducted the review and mapping of other tools and drafted the initial tool. Both MRB and RK contributed to revising the tool based on feedback received. MRB drafted the manuscript. Both MRB and RK contributed to editing the manuscript and have approved the final version submitted for publication.

  • Funding These efforts were supported by the Open Philanthropy Project.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement All relevant data are included in the article.

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