World leaders unanimously back BMA’s call for urgent action as global Covid-19 crisis worsens

Press release from the BMA

Location: UK
Published: Friday 23 April 2021

The BMA has written to Government calling for urgent, practical action to support and aid countries currently tackling a worsening Covid-19 crisis, such as India and Brazil.

The letter, addressed to the Prime Minister, comes as the World Medical Association (WMA) unanimously passed an emergency motion1 put forward by the BMA today, which urges the UK Government to spearhead support for countries hit hardest by the virus.

Following the emergency motion, the WMA today said it recognises “the huge challenges” healthcare workers are facing in keeping services running in such “harrowing” conditions.

It has consequently called on the international community and governments to “urgently prioritise support and aid to the worst affected nations, including oxygen, drugs, vaccines, PPE and other equipment as needed, and to strengthen healthcare system resilience in the face of future pandemics.”

India has seen an alarming Covid surge with infections rising exponentially - alongside reports that some of the country’s hospitals are rapidly running out of essential supplies such as oxygen, beds, and personal protective equipment (PPE).

While in Brazil, Covid has pushed the healthcare system - across the country - into an extremely critical situation with at least 14,122,700 cases of Covid-19, according to data from state governments, and as of Thursday night, 381,475 people had died.

Exhausted healthcare workers in such nations are desperately try to fight the deluge of ill patients, often without the capacity, facilities and tools to treat and care for them, and tragically, as a result, unable to save the lives of many.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said: “It is deeply alarming and saddening to see the devastation Covid-19 is inflicting on some countries, their healthcare services, dedicated staff, and most importantly, their patients.

“As echoed by the WMA, the only way we will defeat this pandemic is if we tackle the virus in every corner of the globe, standing alongside one another and offering support and aid to the worst affected nations at any moment in time.

“To see these struggles happening – and worsening by the day - on such a large scale is deeply worrying. The pandemic, however, is not a one-nation issue, but a global crisis that could, if we’re not careful, fall into catastrophe.

“The Government’s commitment to donate more than half of the UK’s vaccine surplus to lower-income countries earlier this year was welcome recognition that overcoming Covid-19 was a global effort, but it’s clear that we need a more equitable distribution of vaccines, equipment and drugs if we’re to truly support foreign healthcare systems where needed.

“We hope our letter and the unanimously passed emergency motion by the world’s doctors is further evidence to Government that we must play our part now, without hesitation, as part of a global responsibility to ensure that all countries have the necessary resources they need to fight this dreadful virus.”


Notes to editors

The BMA is a trade union and professional association representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.

1. The motion that was passed reads:

"The World Medical Association is deeply concerned to see the alarming and worsening Covid crisis in many countries worldwide, such as currently in India and Brazil.

"We recognise the huge challenges doctors and other healthcare professionals are facing in maintaining healthcare systems in such harrowing conditions. The WMA calls on the international community and governments to urgently prioritise support and aid to the worst affected nations, including oxygen, drugs, vaccines, PPE and other equipment as needed, and to strengthen healthcare system resilience in the face of future pandemics.

"The pandemic will not end until we tackle Covid in every nation and this is a time for global cooperation, solidarity and support for one another."