London: Indian-origin doctors in the UK on Sunday said they are in the process of rapidly expanding their telemedicine project through collaborations with Indian hospitals as part of a wider Covid India Appeal.
The British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) has raised nearly 108,000 pounds within days of setting up a Go Fund Me online appeal and said the initial amount of released funds are making their way to India to help provide immediate assistance such a food supplies for the needy through the Akhshaya Patra charity, with procurement of equipment next in line.
Meanwhile, the BAPIO Telemedicine project has received support and clarification from the UK’s General Medical Council (GMC) and has already started teleconsulting with hospitals in Nagpur, with expansion plans in the next few days.
“The effort is aimed at offering help to our exhausted and over-stretched colleagues in India,” said BAPIO Secretary Dr Parag Singhal.
“The telemedicine virtual hub project is going very well. We have hundreds of volunteers who have expressed their support for this and the aim is to get 1,000 doctors on board to help across three fronts — reporting on CT scans, help for less serious cases through virtual ward rounds, and help for patients in a home setting,” he explained.
BAPIO is working in collaboration with Doctors Association UK (DAUK), Apna NHS and Akshaya Patra with a target to raise around 500,000 pounds towards the telemedicine and advice helplines as well as acquiring and coordinating the distribution of vital oxygen generating and distribution equipment for hospitals and healthcare facilities in India and providing free food to all in need.
The association said it will be working closely with the High Commission of India in London and various National Health Service (NHS) organisations to ensure a wide reach of its efforts.
“We are pleased to say that we now have support from the Royal College of Surgeons, the Royal College of Pathologists and the British Indian Nurses Association amongst many others and are making very good progress towards our goal,” BAPIO said in its update on the fundraising efforts.
The British International Doctors Association (BIDA), which also includes many Indian-origin doctors and medics, are also taking part in the virtual telemedicine efforts to help ease the burden on doctors and healthcare professionals coping with India’s massive surge of coronavirus cases.
BIDA has joined hands with the Oxygen for India appeal by British Asian Trust, recently backed by Prince Charles, to crowdfund through Just Giving towards the cause and raised 35,000 pounds within days.
“Every member knows somebody who has died. In my own family my mum had COVID-19 a week ago — luckily she pulled through. Now my sister and my brother-in-law are also struggling with it,” Dr Chandra Kanneganti, Indian-origin general practitioner and BIDA chair, told ‘GP Online’.
“We are very lucky to have the NHS [National Health Service], and people recognise that when you hear stories from other countries that don”t have enough oxygen supplies, medicines or ventilators,” he said.
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