International SOS in key partnership deal with UK-based Chatham House

International SOS, an internationally-focused medical and travel security risks company based in London and Singapore, has announced a “partnership agreement” with the non-profit, non-governmental organisation commonly known as the Chatham House, which it says it believes will to help it to “drive impactful health initiatives” across vulnerable regions of the world. 

Chatham House is formally known as the Royal Institute of International Affairs, and is a respected think tank known for being the source of the so-called Chatham House Rule – which obliges those attending a meeting not to discuss who said what afterwards. It is named after a building in St James’s Square, London, in which it is based (pictured above).

According to Francesca Viliani, head of public health consulting services and community health programmes at International SOS, the ISOS partnership with the Chatham House “will enable us to spearhead meaningful collaboration across disciplines, and bring together thought leaders in both the private and public sector”.

The two organisations’ first joint activity, she added, will be a workshop in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, at the end of February, which will  funded and hosted by Ending Pandemics (formerly the Skoll Global Threats Fund).

Viliani says the workshop will bring together local health authorities, state health agencies, universities, and international organisations from around the world”, in an effort to identify how community-based disease detection and mitigation initiatives, trialled by Ending Pandemics in Thailand and Tanzania, for example, “might be successfully applied in the Democratic Republic of Congo”, which is currently undergoing a cholera epidemic and could benefit from the kind of “multi-sectoral partnerships for outbreak management” that will be discussed.

Osman Dar, a project director at the Chatham House Centre on Global Health Security, said the partnership with International SOS would “bring a host of medical insight to support our joint projects” in key regions around the world.

International SOS is said to be one of the largest medical and travel security services businesses that exist to help corporate clients provide medical assistance, travel security advice and information, emergency services, healthcare, evacuation and repatriation services for their staff, particularly in remote and high-risk countries. (An Economist report in 2016 said it counted nearly two-thirds of the Fortune Global 500 companies as clients.)

Founded in 1985, it now operates from more than 1,000 locations in 90 countries, and says it takes around 5 million assistance calls every year, as tourists and business travellers encounter issues having to do with political instability, natural disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes and other types of unexpected and often life-threatening emergencies.

According to Viliani, financial advisers and wealth managers with clients who live or travel to risky areas of the world, such as certain parts of Africa, South America and Asia, typically include International SOS coverage among their recommendations, and thus their clients would stand to benefit from the efforts being made by the company in partnership with the Chatham House.

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