Executives Notes: David Best— Applying Public Health Lessons Learned in Real Time

As hope begins to emerge that COVID-19 could be transitioning to an endemic virus, many in the maritime industry await news from regulatory bodies such as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or EU Healthy Gateways, regarding the framework for future guidelines. 

At VIKAND, we are not waiting. We continue to support our clients in every sector to overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges of sailing and the related effects on seafarers in the latest phase of the pandemic. A pandemic involves the uncontrolled spread of a disease—as we have seen with COVID-19—while an endemic disease is one that is consistently present, usually limited to either a particular region or a specific time of year. Transmissions rates, immunity levels, and vaccine efficacy are all key elements that must be considered when determining endemic status.   

VIKAND’s science-based medical and public health protocols provide the highest-level demonstrated mitigation, our measures have been adapted as new evidence emerges, and our guidance on how best to navigate these uncharted waters remains constant. An endemic doesn’t necessarily mean all worries will disappear. A sustained multi-layered prevention approach, applicable throughout all maritime sectors, is crucial. It includes measures such as: 

  • Vaccination
  • Health screening and routine testing
  • Mask-wearing and physical distancing
  • Isolation and quarantine
  • Sanitation
  • Ventilation strategies

Risk is never completely eliminated, but with appropriate, established contingency measures, it can be substantially reduced. Having redundant layers of protection provides additional mitigation in the event any one strategy is not as effective or as accurately executed as anticipated. 

Implementing broad-spectrum public health policies helps provide a healthier and safer environment for operators, crew and guests while indicating a commitment to taking responsibility for the health and wellbeing of crew, whose predicament has not been documented sufficiently during the course of the pandemic. 

At VIKAND, our motto is “We Can, Because We Care” and we care because we are a company of seafarers. The health of our co-workers, and of the industry at large, is important to us. Our public health and medical teams will always closely track recommendations from institutions like the CDC while we apply lessons-learned in real time. We believe doing the right thing is a fundamental value for all of us in the global maritime industry. 

Vikanders Views on Public Health in Real Time

Peter Hult, CEO: "There is humanity in taking care of people and profitability in doing it wisely."

William Heymann, Chief Medical Officer, MD, FACEP, "Health care is vital to all of us some of the time, but public health is vital to all of us all of the time." Quoting C. Everett Koop, Former US Surgeon General

Bec Ware, Vice President, Medical Operations, “Public Health and wellbeing have always been precious; the past two years has simply sharpened the focus.”

Robert Wentworth, Vice President, Biomedical Operations, “Medical equipment, in all of its sophistication, can only detect and identify infectious diseases. It is the people, in all of their humanity, who can prevent the spread of infectious diseases.”

Russ Holmes, Director, Commercial Partnerships, “If there is one thing we have all learned since the start of the pandemic, it is that public health is not just one person or one department’s responsibility. We ALL (guests and crew) play a key role in public health onboard.”

FEATURED INSIGHT: The Benefits of Public Health Training

Working as a Public Health Officer (PHO) within the maritime industry is a demanding position, and not everyone is suited to picking up the mantle of being a "Mandalorian". The key challenge is finding suitable and qualified individuals to take on the role, and effectively training these public health warriors to become advocates of change. Experience cannot be manufactured; it grows organically over time. 

Learn More

VIKAND Launches Infection Control Officer Training Course

VIKAND has launched an online Infection Control Officer training course for the cruise and commercial shipping industries delivered through a customized online Learning Management System exclusively developed by Simwave Academy. It takes approximately 30 hours to complete and has been certified by classification society, RINA.

Read More

Vikander Profile:
Dave Bull

It’s fitting that Lawrence of Arabia is Welshman, Dave Bull’s, favorite movie for he is an epic kind of gent.

The architect of VIKAND’s Telehealth Solution with collaborators FrontM and Inmarsat, Dave has been on the cusp of operations and management of ever faster-evolving technology for three decades.

He likes to say, “Jungle, Snow and Desert,” when—in a single 60-day period—he managed the installation of satellite services from Belize to the U.K. and Germany, Bavaria to Kuwait. An officer with the British Army—and Bronze Medal Marksman in the Commonwealth Military Championships—during his deployment, Dave contributed to sat comm solutions in many of the most extreme global environments.

Today, Dave blends his deep understanding of technology—Low Earth Orbit satellites, the launching of 40,000 small satellites, wireless Internet like Starlink and countless other GEO with LEO and terrestrial 5G technologies for maritime, aviation, government, and enterprise—with a personal and professional mission to increase maritime solutions for great and widespread impact to seafarers and the global maritime industry.

The demands and expectations of the market always drives technology providers to deliver the highest quality products at competitive pricing with cooperative ‘end-to-end” seamless solutions. With an increasing sensitivity to seafarer sustainability, Dave believes technology will benefit sooner than later.

Joining VIKAND three years ago from the Walt Disney Company and assets ABC and Fox, Disney Cruise Lines, attractions and resorts, Dave is building the team and support infrastructure of VIKAND Telehealth. While COVID-19 has been a challenge over the past several years, in true tech guru form, Dave believes that its unpredictability has been the biggest culprit. Providing critical telehealth support, including mental health, offers the guideposts so clearly needed for the new normal and in response to the growing chorus regarding maritime well-being.

Delivering access to experienced, certified, maritime medical professionals onshore with a full suite of medical services, VIKAND's Telehealth Solution connects captains and crew in unprecedented ways. Using secure, uninterrupted communication—available by audio, video, and text— VIKAND’s satellite technology is available anywhere at sea (including low band-width environments) and connects remotely to VIKAND’s medical team. The service includes, but is not limited to, monthly “Doctor House Calls/Check-Ups” with crew, mental wellness support, and counseling.

Now living in Fort Lauderdale, Dave is married to his wife of 21 years, Elisabeth (Lizi), who is a sommelier and abstract painter and originally from New York City. They are pawrents of Khalisee and Mr. Pip (a dog and cat). In June, they will head to the Trooping of the Colour—Queen Elizabeth II’s official birthday party—followed by Royal Ascot, the revered horse race that is synonymous with exquisite fashion and magnificent millinery creations (more than just fascinators).

No doubt Dave will re-read his 1st edition Kipling or Steinbeck in preparation.

See You There...

CMA Shipping 37th Annual Expo & Conference
29-31 March 2022, Stamford, Connecticut, USA
Join us to discuss our healthcare solutions and our culture of care focus.
CMA Shipping - 37th Annual Expo & Conference

Nor-Shipping 2022
4-7 April 2022, Oslo, Norway
Booth #: T 01-14
Join us for conversations about seafarer human sustainability at this internationally heralded event that builds industry collaboration.
Nor-Shipping 2022

Seatrade Cruise Global
25-28 April 2022, Miami Beach, Florida USA
Booth #: 4223
We look forward to sharing our many “lessons learned” and successful implementation of medical solutions with our global cruise partners.
Seatrade Cruise Global 2022

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