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Wednesday, May 06, 2020, 11:58
Academics equip British health workers with PPE
By Bo Leung in London
Wednesday, May 06, 2020, 11:58 By Bo Leung in London

A member of the clinical staff puts on Personal Protective Equipment PPE in the intensive care unit at the Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, England, May 5, 2020. (NEIL HALL / POOL VIA AP)

Editor's note: This news column showcases stories from around the world that bring a touch of positivity to the fight against the deadly coronavirus.

A group of British Chinese professors have raised thousands of pounds to purchase personal protective equipment for the National Health Service in 10 hospitals across the United Kingdom as the country battles the novel coronavirus pandemic.

We also managed to set up links with the hospitals directly to see what was needed and we were able to do this because we had members working for the NHS 

Wang Jihong, from the School of Engineering at the University of Warwick

Wang Jihong, from the School of Engineering at the University of Warwick, also the vice-president for finance at the Association of British Chinese Professors, or ABCP, coordinated efforts with association members across the UK.

"After we issued a call for donations on our website to help the NHS we received a really positive response from members, institutional members, non-members and other Chinese community groups such as the Birmingham Chinese School. Everyone wanted to donate money and help get PPE to hospitals," Wang said.

Helping to fill the PPE shortage is a task which ABCP members were happy to take on. Members include professors in medicine or biological science, NHS workers and those who have relatives working as NHS junior doctors.

"We also managed to set up links with the hospitals directly to see what was needed and we were able to do this because we had members working for the NHS," Wang said.

Wang and the ABCP also reached out to contacts, friends and graduates in China to help raise fund and donate protective equipment.

"Our association members are British Chinese professors, with either Chinese origins, educated in China or lived in China previously," she said. "They have connections and research collaborators in China, who were contacted to search for PPE stocks."

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So far, their donations have secured 2,500 FFP2 face masks for Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London, UCL Hospital London, St Mary Hospital and Imperial College London, as well as 3,500 safety goggles and 7,000 full-face visors donated to seven hospitals in London, Cambridge, Birmingham and Coventry.

"This is all a team effort. Our focus is to help the NHS, support them and save lives and hope this pandemic will pass quickly," Wang added. "Those who have received the equipment have told us how happy they were, some of the hospitals sent us pictures of the doctors and NHS staff wearing the PPE and expressing their thanks to us for our work."

Touching stories

Wang said that since launching the campaign to secure PPE, she's been moved by the generosity of others.

"A mother of one of our graduates heard about our fund-raising for PPE for the NHS. She's not part of ABCP, but she still bought various protective equipment and sent them to the hospital through us," she said. "I was very moved by this, because it is just ordinary people in China. Some have children in the UK, and they use their own money and ask us to connect them with hospitals."

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The University of Warwick has also received around 1,000 face masks from Beijing City University.

The donation will be distributed to NHS key workers, care homes, hospitals and district care services across Warwickshire and some will be used by students and frontline workers who remain on the Warwick campus.

boleung@mail.chinadailyuk.com

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