ONE of the Scotland's most prominent public health experts has urged Scots to get behind the extended DEC Coronavirus Appeal for India to provide vital life-saving medical supplies.

Devi Sridhar, Professor of Global Public Health at the University of Edinburgh, has urged people to donate to the Disasters Emergency Committee’s extended Coronavirus appeal for India as a vital way to support relief efforts there.

India is one of the worst-hit countries in the world.

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Prof Sridhar who has been a key adviser to the Scottish Governments throughout the pandemic, has described the ongoing conditions in Indian hospitals as a "medical hell on earth", stressing there is still a desperate need for basic medical supplies, oxygen and logistical support to help the overwhelmed medical teams across the country.

She added that many doctors had already died in India whilst trying to save patients and urged the authorities to make vaccinations a priority for medical staff.

Prof Sridhar also said that many of the most vulnerable populations across India were facing a "double hit" – not only the deadly threat of the virus but its economic impacts too with many families now going hungry.

With any donations, the DEC says its member charities will be able to support medical teams, and help the poorest and most vulnerable households by providing food to prevent malnutrition and other household essentials.

Donations will also pay for basics like soap and handwashing stations, hygiene kits and trained Indian health volunteers to screen the population and support health messaging to help stop the virus spreading further.

Prof Sridhar added that with the virus now rapidly spreading in neighbouring countries, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh, it showed the danger of complacency about the virus.

She said: “My fear now is this could bode ill for Africa, what it will look like in a few weeks?  We can’t underestimate this virus, whenever we think it has been defeated, it somehow comes back in a more vicious way.”

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DEC charities are now providing PPE, disinfection, sanitation and other medical supplies awe well as setting up temporary Covid hospitals and Covid care centres kits in India, including isolation facilities. 

They are also providing key information and logistics support to help people find hospital beds, oxygen cylinders and Covid vaccines.

From the donations, the DEC said £30 could provide six families with enough soap for a month, £50 could provide essential hygiene kits to two families, while £100 could provide PPE for one frontline health worker for four months.

To find out more, you can visit the DEC website here.