UK docs say "dil hai Hindustani", as they raise resources for Covid second wave


Vaccination for young people takes off amid raging covid infections in India (Photo: IANS)

The second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in India is replaying the scenes that 2020 saw in Europe and USA with healthcare systems standing up bravely against a raging infection. Now as the Covid-19 virus turns its deadly attention to India, Indian across the world are standing up for the country.

In India's time of crisis, the world has responded with drugs, medical supplies and oxygen equipment. The global Indian community too is mobilising a variety of resources so that Indians back home can fight off the pandemic.

In an exclusive interview with India Narrative, Dr JS Bamrah, Chairman, British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) talks about how the medical fraternity in the UK is worried about the situation in India. BAPIO has launched a major drive in the UK to secure medicines and oxygen concentrators for India.

Bamrah says: "We might be British citizens but dil hai Hindustani. Many of us have strong ties with India where almost everyone is suffering. The crisis is India is such that we could not have ignored it. BAPIO is a charitable organisation, so we had to come forward. BAPIO has involved in charitable work from time to time. We mustered support during the Kerala earthquake and are working in childhood obesity issues."


The organisation has launched a three-pronged strategy to support India. The three pillars of this effort are - medical equipment and supplies, providing tele-consultation service to Indian patients and reduce the burden on Indian doctors and the third pillar is raising funds to deliver food to the needy. Bamrah says that BAPIO has reached out to charities like Akshaya Patra, Khalsa Aid and others for advice and help.

The association has launched a BAPIO India Covid Fund to raise funds. "This is an unprecedented crisis. We have never worked on such a large scale. We are delighted at the response from people as members and non-members have contributed to our appeal. It is heart-warming to see that people have donated large sums of money as heart-wrenching it is to see the tragedy unfold in India", Bamrah says.

Currently, BAPIO has been able to get the phone lines working. The tele-consultation is working and the pressure on doctors in India is reducing.

It is procuring oxygen equipment, ventilators, antibiotics and medicines and storing them at a warehouse. "The Indian High Commission in London is supporting us. They have promised to pick up the supplies from the warehouse and help us deliver those to India. We are also talking to airlines and Khalsa Aid as they have been delivering supplies to India", Bamrah adds.

The organisation is facing ground realities. The prices of oxygen concentrators are going up fast. Bamrah says that the Chinese manufacturers are increasing the prices every second day even as they talk about the procurement and "this is cutting into our charity funds".

The organisation has received wide support for its India appeal. It is not just money but professional advice as well as. As BAPIO President, Dr Ramesh Mehta says: "On behalf of BAPIO we would like to do all that we can do to support India at this challenging time. We would also like to stand by our medical colleagues during this crisis and keep people in our minds."