Saturday, August 22, 2009

H1N1 Flu-SOS Global Medical Services Dr Michael Mitakidis: Prepare for economic impact

Prepare for economic impact, warns medical expert
Aug 18, 09 5:51pm
Companies, government departments, agencies, industries and others should start to evaluate potential economic impact brought by the influenza A (H1N1) pandemic.

In making the call, International SOS Global Medical Services Dr Michael Mitakidis said, besides assessment related to medical and health policy factors, it was useful to evaluate the possible economic impact as a result of the latest flu pandemic.

He said, based on their corporate case studies and surveys, together with global pandemic data, it was estimated that the world's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would see a huge drop.

"Under reasonable assumptions on infection and death rates (30 percent and 0.4 per cent, respectively, of the total global population), six months from October 2009 and responses by households and businesses to the pandemic, we estimate that the world GDP would be cut by more than US$2.5 trillion or 3.5 percent of the 2009 GDP," said the Singapore-based Mitakidis.

He was presenting a paper entitled 'Business Continuity Planning Lessons from 2009 Influenza A(H1N1)' at the 3rd Annual Series-Asia Healthcare 2009, organised by the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (Asli) here today.

The International SOS is the world's leading provider of medical assistance, international healthcare, security services and outsourced customer care and with operation in 70 countries.

It helps organisations manage the health and safety risks facing their travelers, global workforce and customers.

Potential losses for companies

Mitakidis, who has wide experience on both hospital and doctor service quality issues, said in counting the economic cost of a pandemic such as the influenza A(H1N1), areas such as human resources cost, loss of income cost, insurance cost and travel-related cost should be included.

On the healthcare costs, aspects to be looked into among others are related to medications, admission to hospitals and specialist service costs.

He said that in a situation like the influenza A (HINI), there were bound to be cases of employees on medical leave, absentees and inability to work overtime, which comes with a possible economic impact.

Mitakidis pointed out that in a company in Vietnam, it had recorded an absentee rate of 40 percent of its total workforce for a duration of about 10 days, which Mitakidis said would have a huge economic impact on the said company.

He also suggested that a pandemic information service, updates, bulletins and alerts be created so that employees could be better informed about the pandemic preparedness and be provided with daily round-up of the global situation and other related developments.

- Bernama

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