Tributes as East London GPs die from coronavirus

Tributes have been paid to two east London GPs who have died after contracting COVID-19.

Dr Augustine Obaro, who worked in Walthamstow, died on New Year’s day, while Dr Abdul-Razaq Abdullah, who worked in Rainham, died last month.

Their deaths are believed to have taken the COVID death toll among UK GPs to 16. Most have been from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Dr Obaro, 63, who died suddenly after a short battle with the virus, was described as “generous and respected”.

The father-of-four had been working at the Addison Road Medical Practice in Walthamstow since 2004 and was completing his postgraduate education to become a general practice trainer when he fell ill.

Colleagues said he was well known for his charity and out-of-hours work with Waltham Forest GP Federation.

Patients posted tributes on social media, describing him as a “great doctor” who provided “wonderful” care.

Waltham Forest Clinical Commissioning Group chair Dr Ken Aswani said: “This is a tragic loss of a highly respected front line health worker.”

Dr Obaro qualified as a doctor at the University of Maiduguri in Nigeria in 1984 and came to the UK in 1999 to train as a GP.

He had worked in east London for almost two decades. He leaves a wife, Elizabeth, and four sons, Raphael, Charles, Osebi and Christopher.

Raphael said Dr Obaro was a “wonderful father” and “the most giving person I know”.

Before the pandemic hit, Dr Obaro returned with his wife to Nigeria every year to volunteer and help improve healthcare in his native village.

Dr Abdullah, 68, who ran a single-handed practice in Rainham, came to the UK from Iraq in 1985.

He initially worked for the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospital Trust and died in Queen’s Hospital Romford on December 8 after a month in intensive care.

NHS Havering CCG chair Dr Atul Aggarwal said: “His death is a tragic loss to our GP community.”

The British Medical Association has called for frontline heath staff to be vaccinated as a priority.

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Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter