IntlSOS 30 Years - From East to West - Page 161

08 Developing a Global Infrastructure | A Professional Approach
We have worked closely with our
clients to develop quality systems and
we apply the same criteria to our own
— Mike Hancock
Fact No. 28
In 2013 we carried out
17,502 medical evacuations/
repatriations, 2,252
repatriations of mortal
remains (RMRs), and 253
security evacuations.
Our Corporate Assistance Department (CAD) was
established in 2000, headed by Dr Roger Farrow,
with Dr Pascal Rey-Herme, Lisa Tan, Patrick Deroose,
Dr Neil Nerwich, and Dr Philippe Barrault. These
are senior medical personnel, with vast shared
experience. One member of the CAD is always
available to give medical assistance in complex or
problematical cases. Advice is given over the phone
so that a real conversation occurs. The CAD member
has the final say and since its inception this has
brought tremendous order to the system. Today 17
individuals represent the CAD and although
primarily medical in skill set, the CAD also includes
operations and security decision makers, the latest
of whom is Ricus Groenewald, who joined the team
in November 2014.
Every event teaches us something new, and
capturing that experience is key. After SARS and
Avian Flu much time was spent formalising and
documenting our approach to such events.
This effort, by Dr Doug Quarry, David Cameron,
Mike Hancock and others has culminated in a very
robust Crisis Management structure.
Left: October 2014, UK,
Heathrow airport announces
screenings of passengers
for Ebola virus. Credit: Corbis
Each country has a Crisis Management Team
(CMT) made up of people from each function
(plus alternates) and a Crisis Team leader. Their
job is to help clients in a crisis or other unexpected
event. If needed, an incident can be escalated
to regional level and ultimately up to corporate
level, where decisions can be communicated across
the group within 30 minutes. Mike Hancock and
David Cameron are the Corporate Team Crisis
Co-ordinators, reporting to Pascal. The CMT process
identifies the steps to be taken at each point,
from establishing an immediate response and
initiating a plan of action, to the final stages of
recovery and review.
Ebola – Crisis Control
The CMTs at country, regional and corporate level
have been called upon many times. In 2014 a key
issue for the team was Ebola. The outbreak began
in December 2013 but only came to international
attention in March 2014. Over the next few weeks it
took hold with Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria
and Mali all affected. Throughout this time Dr Andre
Willemse and his medical team worked with key
clients in the region to provide educational support
and develop contingency plans. As the situation
worsened we convened the Regional Crisis Team in
Paris led by Dominik Schaerer, Joël Gosset and Ricus
Groenewald, supported by our Paris assistance and
medical teams, including Cédric Beguin, Mamoun
Mustafa, Lucas Cohen and Dr Yann Rouaud, and at
corporate level by Dr Neil Nerwich, Mike Hancock
and David Cameron.
It was clear that a number of clients wanted to move
non-essential staff from Liberia. The team pulled in
medical, operations, security, aviation and other
specialists to find a solution. This was a very
challenging task but over the following three weeks,
two charter flights and 120 commercial transports
were undertaken, the most complex being 139
passengers moved from Monrovia, to Johannesburg,
via five different and highly complex routing options.
Dr Doug Quarry and Dr Irene Lai developed our Ebola
website, which is open to the public and a highly
regarded source of information internationally. In
addition, they oversaw the development of tools and
materials to help our local teams on the ground
support those clients remaining in the area. We helped
at least 40 clients, with Ebola-specific education and
training and advice on risk reduction, including staff
screening. The marketing teams supported the crisis


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