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Health Special

When health is a pain in the neck!

Child with fever at 2h00 in the morning! Bad toothache while on business conference in Samara! In need of a medical specialist for a family member! Ran out of medications! Call for a medical second opinion! Want a prescription while on assignment in Nizhny Novgorod! Cannot read the medication notice! In need of an ambulance or even medical evacuation out of Moscow or from remote location in Russia! Inability to understand the Russian speaking nurse or treating doctor!

Whether newcomers or those who have been in Moscow a while will encounter such a situation is unknown. Most are not fully prepared to respond to such eventualities, impacting seriously the wellbeing of the affected person.

Which one of the nearly 7,000 private clinics in Moscow should he choose? How to get medical confidential translation or interpretation? Do they have the right specialist on the spot when I need him, even during the dacha period? Will they accept my insurance cover? Do they use similar protocols as the ones used at home? Do I get a proper medical report? What about availability of blood and blood products? How do you call an ambulance in Novosibirsk?

A company whose job is to provide answers to such questions is International SOS, the world’s leading international healthcare, medical assistance, and security services company. Many may remember it from their previous assignments in other countries such as Vietnam, India, Kazakhstan, China, and 70 others. Long-term Moscovites know SOS since it came to Russia some 20 years ago with a small GP practise and a full scale 24/7 Alarm Centre, staffed with Russian multilingual and ex-patriates doctors at any time. The company in Russia today manages a network of over a 1000 medical providers (hospitals, doctors, ambulance providers, and more) throughout the country. They can always direct a patient to the best facility based on caller’s geographic location, the caller’s medical condition and the time. “It may not make any sense directing a patient to a clinic situated in the far north of Moscow when a patient is in the south and similar quality is available in the vicinity,” states Dr Alexander Ermakov, Deputy Medical Director at the Alarm centre.

The International SOS Moscow clinic is only a very small part of the overall network the company maintains. “As you can imagine it will not be the International SOS Moscow clinic or any other private clinic in the city helping you during a car accident in Kaluga, but only a strong assistance provider, knowing the circumstances on the spot,” confirms Oleg Koninin, Director for Sales and Marketing. To strengthen its neutrality and reduce its sometimes apparent competitive situation with certain medical providers in Moscow, as well to enhance its positing as assistance company, the International SOS clinic will gradually loose its importance over these next months in favour of the 24/7 Alarm Centre. International SOS will continue reassuring its members all over the world and in Russia, being 100% with them anywhere, in Moscow on a daily live base, during a business trip in St. Petersburg, in Bali during annual holiday or at a conference in Johannesburg. Individuals and corporations will continue relying on them for their operational capabilities in remote areas, their expertise in emergency situations or just to provide a peace of mind and duty of care to their staff.

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