Night and day: how Tangiers operates while others rest

New York is famously billed as ‘the city that never sleeps’ – a bustling metropolis where the bright lights stay on long after the sun has set.

It is the exception to the rule.

For many of the remote, underdeveloped or impoverished areas where Tangiers International operates, business hours are significantly more constrained.

Pharmacies close in the afternoon, on-call doctors may be hard to find and the nearest clinic may be several hours drive away.

That’s why, in order to facilitate the assessment and treatment of patients who have suffered ill health while abroad, the company needs to ensure it picks up the slack.

Tangiers’ commitment to efficiency and best practice in dealing with medical emergencies means it needs to run a 24/7 operation where experienced professionals are always on hand to offer assistance – whatever the hour.

Carlos Hernandez, Tangiers International’s operations manager, said: “Obviously we have providers that work at all hours. Depending on the type of emergency, we assess the situation and some emergencies can wait until the morning and some cannot. That all depends on the level of urgency.

“Let’s say that somebody needs to go to the hospital immediately at two in the morning. It does not matter where someone is, the important thing is that someone here is on the phone, that they respond straight away and can offer guidance and practical advice about what happens next.”

Tangiers International ensures that its phones are manned 24 hours a day so that when a patient needs to get in touch, they can. However, the launch of its customer phone app in late 2017 added another resource for policy holders who wanted access to information at their fingertips.

Carlos said: “People tend to suffer injuries more during the day. Of course, they’re out and about and are more likely to get into a vehicle accident or suffer some sort of physical injury.

“We do have a protocol in place but when it comes to an emergency situation, you need to think on your feet. You need to make your own protocol for that specific situation.”

Depending on the circumstances, that may mean utilising Tangiers’ global network of local field agents to make contact with the patient or orchestrate treatment in country.

Similarly, it may mean instructing one of the company’s trusted third-party providers – whether an air ambulance service or overland transport – in order to get the patient away from a risky location.

“There are some really remote areas,” explained Carlos. “People who are in South Sudan, for example, and in the middle of nowhere.

“Generally, when people are in areas like these, they are there as part of a group. Normally that means they have some way of getting in touch with us or at least the organisation they’re with.”

A 24/7 economy may not be the reality in many parts of the world, but around the clock assistance means Tangiers International is never more than a phone call away.