Tributes paid to east London GPs after Covid-19 deaths

Ross Lydall,Rachael Burford and And John Dunne
·3 min read
 Augustine Obaro, GP at Addison Road Medical Practice who died on New Years Day  (North East London Commissioning Support Unit (NELCSU) )
Augustine Obaro, GP at Addison Road Medical Practice who died on New Years Day (North East London Commissioning Support Unit (NELCSU) )

Trbiutes have been paid to two east London GPs who have died with Covid.

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, announced yesterday, are believed to have taken the Covid death toll among UK GPs to 16. Most of them have been of BAME heritage.

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 home village.

Dr Abdullah, 68, who ran a single-handed practice in Rainham, came to the UK from Iraq in 1985. He initially worked at Queen’s hospital, Romford, where he died on December 8 after a month in intensive care.

His daughter, Dr Ayat Abdullah, told the GPs’ magazine, Pulse: “He wanted to serve the NHS and be there for these patients and work through this Covid crisis. He felt obligated to help others.

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.

Meanwhile, internationally-acclaimed pianist Fou Ts’ong, 86, who played at the Proms, died in a London hospital on December 28 after two weeks battling the disease there.

The pianist was born in China in 1934 to a family of China’s intellectual elite, before moving to then-Communist Poland to study in Warsaw, aged 19.

Two years later, he won awards and international recognition at the prestigious Chopin competition.

In 1959, he moved to London and grew into an acclaimed international soloist, playing both in Europe and the United States. He played the First Night of the Proms in 1967.

In 1960 he had married Zamira Menuhin, the daughter of the violinist Yehudi Menuhin. He was married twice more, latterly to Patsy Toh, a teacher at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

Chinese pianist Lang Lang paid tribute, writing: “He was a truly great pianist, and our spiritual beacon”.

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