BMA rushes to help India fight COVID

by Tim Tonkin

The BMA has provided funding of £25,000 in support of health services in India, as the country continues to battle a devastating surge in COVID-19 infections. 

Published: Thursday 6 May 2021
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The association has contributed thousands in funding to organisations seeking to assist the medical response to the ongoing public health crisis in India, where a dramatic rise in infections is threatening to overwhelm the healthcare system. 

The grants, which have been provided through the association’s BMA Giving, has seen funds given to a number of UK-based organisations looking to support and provide much needed resources to Indian doctors and healthcare staff. 

These include BAPIO (the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin) which is seeking to fund supplies of oxygen and food to hospitals in India, as well as provide clinical assistance to healthcare workers via teleconsulting and advice services. 

Other organisations receiving funding from the BMA are BIDA (British International Doctors Association), which is looking to supply hospitals with oxygen concentrators, and ApnaNHS (South Asian Heritage NHS Leaders and Staff Network) which is itself looking to raise £100,000. 

Crisis

The funding is the latest action taken by the BMA towards highlighting the medical emergency facing India and to help alleviate the unfolding humanitarian crisis. 

During a session of the World Medial Association 30 April, BMA council chair Chaand Nagpaul tabled an emergency motion calling for the international community to do more to help countries such as India and Brazil, which have been severely affected by the pandemic. 

The BMA also wrote to prime minister Boris Johnson urging the UK to provide oxygen, ventilators and other medical supplies to help beleaguered health services.  

In a recent message to BMA members, Dr Nagpaul said many people in the UK would be viewing the unfolding events in India with sadness and horror.

Shocking

He said: The recent scenes in India resulting from the COVID surge afflicting the country have been truly shocking and heart-wrenching. We know that tens of thousands of doctors of Indian origin work in the NHS, and I know that many of you will be deeply worried about family or friends in India. 

I have been contacted by many doctors expressing anxiety about the deteriorating situation and I know that every member of the BMA will be concerned about the impact this is having on their colleagues as well as what it means for the people of India. 

He added: ‘This pandemic remains a global health emergency on an unprecedented scale and as individual doctors and as an association we must stand shoulder to shoulder with our medical colleagues around the world particularly at this time of crisis. 

The BMA and Dr Nagpaul are continuing to correspond and work with the president and general secretary of the Indian Medical Association, as part of efforts to provide ongoing help and support in dealing with the COVID crisis. 

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