COVID-19 is a once-in-a-century pandemic – a global health crisis – that has impacted our lives significantly in many ways.
I have acknowledged here earlier in Parliament, the work of all our frontline and essential workers who have ensured that we remain safe during this pandemic and get our daily essentials.
It is important to acknowledge our healthcare workers, including our medical doctors, nurses and allied health professionals. Our healthcare workers continue to risk their own lives to ensure they protect the lives of others.
As at 17 August 2020, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Victoria was at 17,027. Of the total COVID-19 cases recorded in Victoria, the total number of healthcare workers infected were 2,376 and the total active cases of COVID-19 in healthcare workers were 1,064.
There are a large number of health professionals from an Indian and South Asian heritage, who are actively practicing in various clinics and hospitals across our Victorian state.
Currently there are many organisations and healthcare providers working tirelessly, to support Victorians to remain safe.
One such organisation I would like to personally thank today is ‘Overseas Medical Graduates Association (OMGA)’.
Under the leadership of Dr Raj Khillan, Dr Raju Yerra, Dr Geetha Venkatram and other medical doctors, OMGA today is a 350-member organisation of medical specialists and general practitioners from various South Asian countries, with about 95 per cent from India.
OMGA was established in Victoria as a unique platform for all overseas trained medical doctors to vocalise their concerns. It aids in facilitating the smooth transition of new overseas medical doctors in the Australian healthcare system.
OMGA has been carrying out many philanthropic works and have contributed $57,000 towards Premier’s bushfire relief fund in 2020.
OMGA also hosts regular social and cultural events, fundraising events raising awareness of maternal health, regular education conferences, and a health education campaign being run through print and broadcasted media.
Through 𝗗𝗼𝗰𝘁𝗼𝗿𝘀 𝗔𝗴𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘀𝘁 𝗗𝗼𝗺𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗰 𝗩𝗶𝗼𝗹𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 group, they provide support to the victims of domestic violence in Victoria. This support is much more needed during COVID-19, due to increasing incidence of domestic violence.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, OMGA doctors are working overtime to help keep Victorians safe.
In addition to their normal daily duties, they are also providing free medical services to many people who are not covered under Medicare – who were or are stranded in Australia during pandemic, with international travel coming to a standstill.
OMGA doctors also provided free medical services in form of screening passengers travelling back to India from Melbourne, on mercy flights organised by Indian government for stranded Indians in Australia through the 𝗩𝗮𝗻𝗱𝗲 𝗕𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗮𝘁 𝗠𝗶𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻.
I would like to thank OMGA doctors for their valuable contribution in Victoria.
Overall, the contribution of all Indian and South Asian doctors to the Victorian society – in metropolitan, remote and regional areas – is commendable and praiseworthy. Thank you all for looking after us