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Interview of Habib Aoude, General Manager of Mideast Assistance
|This week we decided to highlight a brilliant
initiative. Mideast Assistance a Lebanese company is providing international medical
assistance to business and holiday travellers with plans to cover the whole region.
Interview with the young executive manager Habib Aoude.
Lebanon : Could you explain what exactly is Mideast Assistance ?
Habib Aoude : It is an assistance company which mainly provides international
medical assistance. We aim at covering all the sectors of assistance on a Middle
East level, such as Road assistance, legal assistance , domestic assistance and
many more... We've been operating in this field for two years now.
FL : What is a medical assistance ?
HA : Very simply, it is the fact to take charge of people on a medical level when
they are out of their country of residence. It may sound simple, it is not. We
are dealing with health problems or accidents that sometimes occur in very remote
countries, it requires a strong know how and expertise.
Are their specific fields within this main activity.
HA : Absolutely. According to the encountered problem, we will have to deal with
different issues :
- Repatriation in an ambulance aircraft.
- On field urgency cares, even hospitalisation.
- Transportation to join the contracting person.
- Repatriation of mortal remains.
But many other services accompany this main assistance : children repatriation,
remote medical diagnostic, travel information services, loss of baggage are the
FL : Do you have competitors on this market
HA : Of course we do ! And we are expecting more because it is a promising field.
FL : Who are your services addressed to ?
HA : Our services are addressed to people leaving in Middle East countries who
are travelling abroad for business or holiday. In addition, we want to create
a service for people coming from abroad to this region of the world. We offer
them the assistance of a specialised medical network as well as an access to an
alarm centre which covers the whole Middle East and North Africa region.
FL: Could you tell us about the strategy you plan to implement to
HA: Our assistance products are already distributed through travel agencies in
Lebanon and Syria and we want to extend our resellers network to the neighbouring
countries on the same model: through partnerships with travel agents.
The market and our expectations are great, foreign embassies compel people applying
for a visa to subscribe to this kind of assistance. There has been many non covered
people hospitalised in Europe or America and in this case the hospitalisation
is at the charge of the hospital itself. From now on, you'll have to be insured
to get a visa.
FL: So future looks promising ?
HA: Indeed. Once the outgoing system will cover the region, we will work on a
similar one for the incoming, and it will not take so long to reach this coverage
for both incoming and outgoing. Then partnerships with internationally renown
assistance companies will be reachable and we'll start working on the same standards
as in Europe or developed countries.
FL: What is the difference
between a medical assistance and a travel insurance ?
HA: The difference lays in the fact that an assistance covers only the emergencies
and the first aids happening during the trip. As a travel insurance covers the
same risks as in the country of origin, in addition to this, the price of the
medical assistance is cheaper than the travel insurance.
, October 28 2002