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Mar 6, 2012

INTERVIEW: McCann Healthcare's John Cahill on corporate social imperative

SINGAPORE - McCann Healthcare Worldwide CEO John Cahill says when it comes to public health, it's more a case of corporate social imperative rather than just responsibility.

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In Singapore for a World Health Organisation summit on Health Security, Cahill explained the reasons behind McCann Healthcare's involvement in the pan-regional talks.

"We’ve been here a long time, having established healthcare in the region, having invested and understood the diversity we know this is a region rich in risk but also rich in opportunity. It’s highly collaborative nature, in ASEAN for example, means extraordinary things can be achieved in collaboration with the WHO.”

Continued Cahill, “We’re bringing a lot of information and a lot of experience-based competence (so that) in the interpandemic period or at the time of an event, more effective communications across stakeholders will lead to better preparedness.”

Asked about funding for communications, especially at times of crisis when money will be focussed on relief efforts, Cahill said that it was felt that some existing funds could be used more effectively and efficiently and that some countries in the region might be in need of top-up funding. “Also governments are building infrastructure to be better prepared for events such as the tsunami in Japan and the flooding in Indochina. This would be augmented by what we do, communicating to stakeholders so programmes are more effective."

More than corporate social responsibility, Cahill said companies have a corporate social imperative to have a healthy workforce and a healthy consumer. “It’s not an option, there’s an imperative to protect what we do."

And on the topic of brands’ involvement in either preparedeness or relief efforts, Cahill said there is indeed a role for brands. “But we need to be careful to ensure that the brand and its marketing never overtake the real health need.”

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