Doctors unite through the Rotary network

By Dr. John Philip, Chair of the International Fellowship of Rotarian Doctors

Many of our members are on the front line in the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic. As the International Fellowship of Rotarian Doctors, we decided to reach out to them, show support, share views and ideas to learn from each other.

We held two online ‘round table’ discussions attended by 30-35 members and guests from different parts of the world. During the first meeting, members from different countries – including the UK, US, Canada, Uganda, Nigeria, Malaysia, India and Mexico – exchanged views and shared experiences.

As the Chair of the Doctors Fellowship, I found it moving to hear stories of our members going the extra mile to look after seriously ill patients under challenging circumstances, often at personal risk. It was clear that many were burdened by shortages of personal protection and inadequate equipment. Some also commented about having to cope with social stigma and hostile responses to Covid-19 patients.

The second online round table discussion focused on two specific topics – end of life care and challenges of providing maternity care.

Health professionals are facing unprecedented difficulties during this pandemic. The number of deaths is overwhelming – in some units there is little time to get over one death before having to move on to care for another patient. Relatives are unprepared, almost always unable to offer love and care to sick family members and unable to receive comfort and support during bereavement.

Maternity care – especially in emergencies – expose attendant doctors and midwives to special risk. Anaesthesia, when needed, require special protective provisions. There are often practical problems in allowing partner’s presence in the delivery room.

Many doctors are suffering under the strains of overwork and personal risk with little support. Our discussions reassured them that the whole Rotary world prides in their dedication and wishes them well. The International Fellowship of Rotarian Doctors is a multidisciplinary, international group. We are the natural home of all health professionals in Rotary and beyond.  

Through these online meetings and email communications, we are now in contact with colleagues from different parts of the world. We hope that our network will grow, and we will be able to draw together grass root views and experiences at this time of global crisis.

Since these meetings, there have been increased discussions relating to treatment options. Other issues that were raised are – exit strategy, prevention, ethical considerations, digital technology (do’s and don’ts) and collateral damage.

We are planning future online round table discussions. To find out more, please contact me.

Rotary Fellowships allow you to stay engaged with members by giving you an opportunity to connect with people with a shared interest all over the world. The pandemic has changed the way many members connect with each other; Fellowships have always been a way to connect virtually with like-minded Rotary members. June is Rotary Fellowships Month. Learn more about these groups.


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