Dr. Kanta Kumar and Dr. Shirish Dubey
Dr. Kanta Kumar and Dr. Shirish Dubey

Experts from the Universities of Birmingham and Oxford have joined the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) in reaching out to Asian people living with inflammatory forms of arthritis (IA) - in particular, Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) - with information on how to keep themselves and their families safe from coronavirus.

Dr. Kanta Kumar and Dr. Shirish Dubey have recorded a special video – in Hindi – aimed at helping Asian people with IA/RA who do not speak English as a first language, protect themselves from the threat of COVID-19.

The video is available to view on the NRAS Apni Jung project website for people suffering from a rheumatological condition who would like to know more about the virus and measures they can take.

Dr. Kanta Kumar, an experienced researcher at the University of Birmingham who has published many papers on the subject of ethnicity and its impact on musculoskeletal practice, commented: “Many people in Asian communities – particularly elderly family members – do not speak English and some may have difficulty reading information on Public Health England websites, even if it’s written in their own language. More importantly the terminology used in the government’s guidelines requires clarification when applied to the cultural beliefs and traditions of the BME communities.

“Rheumatology patients need information and guidance about how COVID-19 can impact on their condition and the steps they need to take to protect themselves and their families. We recorded this video in Hindi to reach as many people as possible in Asian communities.”

The video explains what COVID-19 is and how people can spot symptoms, detailing how to isolate if symptoms present. The experts cover the importance of hygiene and social distancing, as well as giving advice about what to do if living in an extended family.

Dr. Shirish Dubey, Consultant Rheumatologist based within Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, commented: “COVID-19 represents a serious threat to everyone’s health – we must all stay at home and look after ourselves and our families. We are in this together and working hard to fight the virus.

“It is particularly important that people living in extended families do everything they can to protect themselves against the virus. I would urge people across the Asian community to watch our video and then share it – in a safe manner – with their families.”

Ailsa Bosworth MBE, National Patient Champion at NRAS, said: “We hope this short video will enable South Asian communities across the UK to get the right information in their own language and protect themselves from COVID-19.”

  • For more information, please contact Tony Moran, International Communications Manager, University of Birmingham on +44 (0)782 783 2312. For out-of-hours enquiries, please call +44 (0) 7789 921 165. 
  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 6,500 international students from over 150 countries.
  • The NRAS’ Apni Jung project was launched to coincide with the 2016 British Society for Rheumatology annual congress. The Apni Jung website provides patients with rheumatoid arthritis from minority backgrounds with high-quality educational materials on their condition in Hindi and Urdu, as well as video clips of Asian patients talking about their experiences.
  • The National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS), is the only patient-led organisation in the UK specialising in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). Due to its targeted focus on RA and JIA, NRAS provides truly expert and wide-ranging services to support, educate and campaign for people living with these complex autoimmune conditions, their families and the health professionals who treat them.
  • For more information about NRAS, please contact Eleanor or phone: +44 (0)1628 823524.