IntlSOS 30 Years - From East to West - Page 31

02 Remote Locations | First Steps
First Steps
Many of our first clients were energy, mining and
infrastructure (EMI) companies. Southeast Asia at
that time was a profitable and growing business
location for these companies, with many major
construction projects, mining operations and oil
and gas explorations underway. Companies were
obliged by law to provide medical care to their
employees; they wanted to, but needed help.
They had already begun to outsource services
such as catering, logistics and transport;
we were to become Asia’s first company
to offer outsourced medical services.
We got to know a number of EMI companies, and
spent time talking to them about their challenges.
We already had a reputation for delivering high
quality primary and emergency medical services
through our clinics and Assistance Centres. Pascal
could see that we might be able to provide services
in these remote locations too but he did have some
reservations. Employing large numbers of staff and
supporting projects remotely, plus training many
medical professionals to international standards,
would change the face of the company’s operations.
But, as always, the Founders were happy to adjust
their vision and make the most of any opportunity
that came their way. Dr Inge also became more
involved at this point. With her extensive local
knowledge she was able to develop appropriate
relationships with local authorities; she was also
able to help model the services so they were fully
compliant with national health objectives. Her
unique ability to identify competent national staff,
both medical and managerial, gave tremendous
strength to a rapidly growing operation.
AEA’s first major project was in 1988, when a French
construction company was commissioned by the
Indonesian government to build Jakarta’s new
international airport. It needed to offer medical care
at the construction site which was over three hours’
drive from the city. The company sought Pascal’s
advice and he recommended creating a field clinic
which would offer emergency and primary care
services on-site. He went on to design and equip the
clinic, and supply and supervise its medical staff.
East Kalimantan Mine, Borneo
The next opportunity was to deliver these services
more remotely and on a larger scale. The first
mining company to work with us was the Anglo
Australian group Rio Tinto, one of the largest mining
companies in the world. In 1991 Rio Tinto, with BP,
established Indonesia’s largest coal mine, KPC,
Kaltim Prima Coal, stretching across 90,000
hectares, in East Kalimantan – an hour’s flight
from the nearest big city.
We had already helped Rio Tinto with medical
transports to Singapore, and many of their
employees had attended the clinic in Jakarta. We
convinced them to let us visit the Kalimantan site
and assess what medical services were needed
there. We were engaged and set about providing
first class emergency and primary healthcare for
the growing population.
We had to build a health service to serve the needs
of this wider community. Rio Tinto gave us every
support as it was committed to caring for its people
and the local community. The provision of medical
services at KPC grew and, as the project matured
into Indonesia’s premier producing coal mine, our
services likewise expanded. This project became
the standard to which all foreign mining companies
then aspired.
When Rio Tinto and BP sold the mine to a local
company, BUMI, our contract was terminated and
we were replaced. However, a year later we were
asked to return – the community was relying
on the quality care we provided.
We still operate one large clinic plus a number of
satellite facilities with over 70 staff across the mine
site. Our clinics offer emergency and routine
outpatient care, maternal and infant care, dental
care, medical check-ups for employees, and more
extensive public health care, containing diseases
like dengue and TB. We also provide leading
occupational health services and are promoting
healthy lifestyles to the workforce and their families.
At the start we had one doctor and a paramedic
working from a temporary container clinic; this soon
grew. Not only did the workers need to be cared for,
but also their families and local communities. Rio
Tinto/KPC effectively had to build a town, including
schools and other facilities, to house them. What
was once a small exploration site became the
administrative centre of the area, and the population
grew to 18,000.
Coal conveyor belt section –
KPC mine, Borneo, Indonesia, 2013.


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