Kerala origin doctors raise $200,000 for Covid relief in home state

Graduates from the state start free ‘Dronacare’ tele-health service for Keralites.

With generous contributions from its members, Association of Kerala Medical Graduates (AKMG) has raised over $200,000 for Covid relief in Kerala and provided PPEs and pulse oximeters to healthcare workers and hospitals in the state

It has also started a new telehealth service called Dronacare, in partnership with Innovation Incubator Inc. with the intent of providing free healthcare consultation to people in Kerala.

AKMG has also initiated the steps to bridge Kerala CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and Atlanta CDC under the direction of Dr. MV Pillai, a former president of AKMG, according to a media release.

AKMG President Dr. Subrahmanya Bhat spoke about the association’s work at its 42nd annual convention held from Aug. 13 to 15 at the Inter-Continental Buckhead Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia.

Read: India’s Kerala state shows how to fight Coronavirus (March 18, 2020)

“We have added close to 400 new life members to the AKMG organization. We have started a mentorship program for young physicians who are working on improving their craft,” he said in his presidential address.

Pointing to the several charitable events and programs AKMG has organized, Dr. Bhat said, “We have supported several food banks that have fed the hungry. In addition, our teams raised enough funds to feed 10,000 homeless people last Christmas.”

Attended by 425 fully vaccinated doctors of Kerala origin and their families from the US and Canada, the annual convention was inaugurated with the traditional lighting of the lamp by Dr. Swathi Kulkarni, Consul General of India in Atlanta.

Describing the Indian American physician community as a “testament to the greatest growth story,” she praised their contributions and achievements during the pandemic.

Dr. Kulkarni also stressed the importance of the Indo-US Strategic Alliance, especially in the health sector, while pointing out India’s contributions to providing the world with quality drugs for lower prices.

Dr. Vikas Kapil from the CDC delivered the keynote address. Governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, Dr. Vivek Murthy, US Surgeon General, and the Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan sent their best wishes to the delegates.

“The AKMG, the pioneering organization of Indian physicians in the US, formed three years earlier than the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, AKMG inspired the formation of AAPI,” Dr. Sudhakar Jonnalagadda, Immediate Past President of AAPI, said.

An elegantly done annual Souvenir was released by Souvenir Committee Chair Dr. Annapurna Bhat. Dr. Sunil Kumar, Chair, AKMG Humanitarian Services, thanked AKMG members as they “stepped up to the plate when our motherland was crying for help.”

When the Covid second wave started threatening India, AKMG was able to reach an agreement with the international charity organization GLOBAL MEDIC to match its donations with $100,000 worth of PPE equipment, he said

Welcoming the delegates, Convention Chair Dr. Lizy Thaliath said, “We have gone through a pandemic that has destroyed millions of lives and upended many global economies.”

Noting that healthcare workers have been fighting on the frontline, she said, “We pay respect to all who lost their lives in this fight in the hope of keeping the fight going strong.”

At the fabulous Saturday Nite Gala, Dr. Bhat handed over charge to incoming president Dr. Nigil Haroon, who promised to work to strengthen the organization and enhance its relationship with organizations of other medical professionals.

“As always, AKMG will continue focusing on charitable activities and helping the medical colleges back in Kerala,” he said.

Being away from home, the participants were led to celebrate Onam with traditional festivities, including a reception to King Mahabali with ‘thalapoli’ (traditional ritual procession) and ‘chenda melam’ (percussion) followed by an Onam feast.

A fashion show, choreographed by Anu Bhat, displayed the best of Indian attire. Noted Malayalam actress Mamta Mohandas also took part in the show.

The Campus Comedy Night started in 1986 showcased the diverse talents in music, art and acting by the members of AKMG fraternity.

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