The UK has relaxed much of the Covid safety regulations, whereas several countries are still unsure whether to accept omicron as an end game of the Coronavirus. Meanwhile, the iGlobal Frontline Series catches up with another leading National Health Service (NHS) medic to get some insights on how best to handle the Covid situation in our daily lives right now.
We speak with Dr Moulinath Banerjee, MBBS, MD, PhD, FRCP, Consultant and Clinical Lead in Diabetes, Endocrinology and Specialist Weight management on such issues and beyond.
Having completed his MBBS from the Calcutta Medical College in 1992, MD from Berhampur University in 1996 and after a short stint of service in India, Dr Banerjee migrated to the UK in 1997.
British Heart Foundation had conferred him a grant as an encouragement to pursue his research project in Diabetes & Endocrinology.
He received his FRCP in 2012 and presently is an Honorary Lecturer at Manchester University and the lead in Endocrine teaching at Edge Hill Medical school. The Clinical lead in Diabetes, Endocrinology and Specialist Weight management is regularly invited as a guest speaker in the UK, India, and internationally.
A friendly and helpful Dr Banerjee said, "I am an Associate Editor of British Journal of Diabetes and board member of Diabetes Specialty Clinical Network covering Greater Manchester, with main focus on Antenatal diabetes care".
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What are your health tips to boost immunity now that we're living shoulder to shoulder with Covid?
To stay healthy and fit. No supplements provide any extra benefit, but eating healthy with a normal balanced diet, exercising regularly and keeping weight within the accepted BMI for individual ethnic groups goes a long way to prevent complications of Covid infection. This is more so as the Covid related complications are more common in individuals who are overweight or obese. Some data show that vitamin D deficiency is associated with the development of Covid related complications. Hence, ensuring that you are vitamin D replete may be beneficial.
What Covid safety measure would you recommend under the current scenario?
We should all adhere to the measures that the Department of Health of the UK advises us to follow. This changes from time to time, so we must make sure we adhere to the most current policy. We should continue to take a few simple steps currently, even if not being asked by the Department of Health. They may be helpful in protecting ourselves. For example, using a face mask in crowded places or public transport, washing hands thoroughly, especially after returning home from work or shopping, maintaining social distance where possible, etc. It is imperative that we remain up to date with Covid vaccinations. It has now been clearly demonstrated that vaccinated individuals are significantly less likely to develop Covid related complications, and they reduce transmission of the virus. I think we can do this to protect ourselves & our loved ones & our community from this pandemic.
I have seen the suffering and loss of lives from this infection and have suffered twice with this infection. All my friends & families & extended family members are fully vaccinated in the UK, India & who are living in other parts of the world.
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Tell us about your coping mechanisms that helped you balance the extra work pressures, stress, and tragedy through the pandemic?
It has been extremely challenging in the last couple of years, both physically & emotionally. The Pandemic has definitely led to enormous extra work pressure for all the frontline workers. On top of that, the reduction of regular appointments for our regular patients imposed more challenges. Sickness amongst colleagues increased the pressure as well.
It was tough to deal with my friends & families suffering from Covid & losing some of them. I was lucky to have fantastic colleagues & other health care workers in the hospital and outside my organisation who exude extreme resilience with a smiling face during this very challenging time.
Personally, I am very close to my family & my parents, wife & son are the central pillars of support. We supported each other ( & still doing) throughout the pandemic. We constantly stay in touch with our extended families & friends back in India and other countries. Meditation, listening to music, going for walks together are some of the other things which helped me to relax & recuperate. Playing in the back garden with my son and watching cricket on TV are things I look forward to after a long day.
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What would be your message to those considering a career with the NHS?
It is a fantastic organisation to work for. I have been working in the NHS for almost 24 years and have come across various people in different roles, and they have all taught me something that I cherish. It is a unique organisation, where people are always eager to help each other, and the basic ethos is to provide the best care for the patients. NHS indeed has its challenges, some of which are unique to this organisation, and others are similar to any other healthcare system globally. A career in the NHS is always worthwhile, where every member of staff is caring for the nation's health by keeping its population healthy.