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Travel Management

 November 02, 2009
International SOS Enhanced Web-Based Pandemic Information

 International SOS has added a number of enhancements to its Pandemic Information Service in the run-up to peak flu season in Hong Kong. New features include a scoring system designed to give companies at-a-glance access to how H1N1 is impacting countries; vaccination availability; and border screening information.

Since the outbreak of H1N1 in April, there have been more than 414,000 laboratory-confirmed cases and nearly 5,000 deaths worldwide, according to the World Health Organization as of 17 October 2009. In Hong Kong, H1N1 confirmed cases now number over 20,000. (Source: Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health, HKSAR Government)

"With H1N1 an ever present threat and with new cases reported everyday globally, companies are seeking comprehensive information in real-time so that their pandemic plans can be updated to reduce employee absenteeism, keep their workforce safe and healthy to ensure business continuity wherever they have a presence," said Dr. Robert Allen, Regional Medical Director, Asia, International SOS.

International SOS' Pandemic Information Service provides a central repository of information from over 40 countries on H1N1 developments including border screening, quarantine, and isolation procedures. HR managers and corporate health administers can tap on a reliable source of information and advice and incorporate them into their risk management programmes and pandemic plans that may impact a company's international business travellers and global workforce.

International SOS doctors developed a H1N1 Impact Scoring System that details the impact of the pandemic at both local and national levels. Based on four criteria i.e. the virus' geographical spread, the flu activity, and strain on medical services and business services, the resulting scores helps decision makers plan relevant pandemic planning interventions more effectively.

For example, China, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, and Thailand are all considered to be countries where H1N1 is widespread but the actual strain on medical services and the disruption of services is considered low.

Pandemic eLearning

Companies can also be better prepared by accessing the Pandemic Influenza Service Learning tool that provides training to employees on protective measures they can take to reduce infection rates. A special module that specifically addresses H1N1 is now available and can be accessed at work, at home or while travelling.

"While some governments and health organisations are providing information on a regular basis, only International SOS' Pandemic Information Service gives companies visibility on a worldwide basis and provides comprehensive tools that enable companies to make informed decisions to ensure 'business as usual'," Dr. Allen added.

Members of the public can access general information relating to pandemic preparedness via the International SOS website ( while International SOS' corporate customers can access exclusive content.

In May this year, International SOS announced the results of a survey of HR managers at multinationals in Hong Kong. A key result was that 78% of respondents had not stockpiled any antivirals as part of their pandemic preparedness plans. A major new feature on the Pandemic Information Service now gives HR managers the ability to check where, when and how the H1N1 vaccination is available in over 40 countries.