One of the most reassuring parts of the internet during this crisis has been content produced by medical professionals. Even though some of what they have been sharing is scary – not having enough personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks, aprons and visors – their often frank, no-nonsense approach to the pandemic has been welcome at a time of misinformation, when even those tasked with protecting us (our government), are not doing their jobs properly.
In the UK, a new study has suggested that people of colour are being disproportionately affected by the virus and the first four medical professionals to die from Covid-19 while working for the NHS were Muslim minority doctors (Alfa Sa’adu, Amged el-Hawrani, Adil El Tayar and Habib Zaidi). Now more than ever before, and after criticism that their efforts have been “whitewashed” by the media, we need to be recognising and supporting the efforts of key workers who have put their lives on the line to keep our society safe.
With that in mind, here are five doctors in the UK whose words you should be listening to as the pandemic continues to unfold. From podcasters to prolific tweeters, these content creators are figuratively and literally saving lives:
Dr Ronx Ikharia
They’re best known for their BBC show The Unshockable Dr. Ronx, where they took to the streets of the UK (including chicken shops, boxing gyms and nail salons) to find patients who – for a variety of reasons – had decided not to go to the doctor. Describing themselves as a queer, black, androgynous intersectional feminist, these days, Dr Ronx, who trained as an A&E doctor, is back working at Homerton hospital. They tweet about life in Hackney and battling coronavirus at the hospital – including just recently spotlighting the amazing domestic staff who have been keeping everything clean.
Dr Meenal Viz
Meenal works in acute medicine and is currently 25 weeks pregnant. Her podcast, Meenal’s World, is an excellent listen, and shares her story (and the stories of other frontline healthcare staff) working through the pandemic. You can also expect to find video content across Meenal’s channels: just three days before the UK went into an official lockdown, she walked around London to ask the public how they were feeling about coronavirus. Keen to uplift the South Asian community, Meenal is the former host of podcast Desi Outsiders. Her latest episode features Man Like Mobeen comedian Tez Ilyas.
Dr Annabel Sowemimo
gal-dem’s very own columnist, Annabel is a community sexual and reproductive healthcare doctor who created the groundbreaking Decolonising Contraception sexual health platform and festival for people of colour. She currently works at Haymarket Health Clinic and University Hospitals Leicester. As well as reading her regular Decolonising Healthcare column on gal-dem, where she recently wrote about the dangerous myth that black people can’t get coronavirus, you can find Annabel’s writing on Black Ballad and The Independent. Her focus on countering dangerous race-based science narratives are particularly welcome during this time.
Radhika’s Instagram is usually all about vegan food, but since the pandemic, she has been keeping her followers updated on life as a junior A&E doctor – and her personal diagnosis with coronavirus. While her food-related posts are very much worth checking out (who doesn’t want to see delicious-looking pics of the best vegan food London offers?), insights have revolved around the best parts of tough shifts – “One of my patients told me to tell my mum ‘she’s raised a lovely daughter’”. She also offers advice on NOT speaking to people about coronavirus – “Tell people you speak to regularly that you are actively not having conversations about [it]”.
The Glow Docs
This podcasting duo bring plenty of giggles and lightness to their show, on a podcast which they describe as “sharing their medical knowledge with some added witty and funny seasoning”. As well as talking about coronavirus (isn’t everyone!) expect to hear Dr Busola Bello and Dr Adora Enechukwu weighing in on reality TV shows like Love Is Blind a few hours after their night shifts end, and, on the more serious side, going deep and gritty on black men’s mental health – as they do in a recent episode with a trainee psychologist; an excellent listen.