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Dave Lightening, from University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, receives the first shipment of PPE from First Affiliated Hospital, Guangzhou.

University of Birmingham partners across China have joined forces to send protective equipment that medical and care staff in the West Midlands can use in the ongoing battle against coronavirus.

Eight partner institutions have pledged over 105,000 items of protective clothing – including masks, gloves, coveralls, and goggles – for use by doctors and nurses at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham and other local medical services.

The first shipment of 2,000 particulate filter respirators, 10,000 surgical masks, 20,000 examination gloves and 500 protective coveralls has arrived at Queen Elizabeth Hospital from Sun Yat-sen First Affiliated Hospital, Guangzhou.

More equipment is on its way from Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) in Wuhan; China Railway Rolling-Stock Corporation (CRRC); the Bioscience College of Nankai University in Tianjin; the Nanjing University of Aerospace and Aeronautics; East China University of Science and Technology in Shanghai; Southeast University in Nanjing; and the Women and Children’s Medical Centre in Guangzhou.

Among the incoming equipment are 4,800 face masks destined for Selly Oak Community Response to COVID-19 and GPs in the Selly Oak/Edgbaston area.

And a further 12,500 masks are pledged by Nankai University, Nanjing University of Aerospace and Aeronautics , East China University of Science and Technology and the Women and Children’s Medical Centre in Guangzhou. These will be given to care homes and residences for older adults run by Extracare, Sir Josiah Mason Trust and Bourneville Village Trust. Birmingham City Council will also distribute masks where the need is greatest.

Professor Sir David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Birmingham, says: “We are grateful to our friends in China for their thoughtful and enduring support which epitomises the spirit of friendship and co-operation within our many partnerships with Chinese institutions.

“The world faces a massive challenge to overcome the threat of coronavirus and these gifts will prove invaluable in protecting our NHS staff as they battle every day against this invidious disease.”

The University of Birmingham has forged valued partnerships with many of the best universities and research organisations in China – resulting in progressive, life-changing collaborations in Guangzhou, Nanjing, Shanghai, Beijing and other Chinese cities.

Professor Jon Frampton, Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Director of the University’s China Institute, comments: “We’re proud of our Chinese partnerships - forging lasting connections between some of the best minds in Birmingham and China to create progressive, life-changing collaborations.

“We greatly appreciate the generosity of our partners and anticipate that, together, we will make huge strides in combating disease and improving quality of life – not just for people in China, but also the UK and the rest of the world.”

As one of the major universities in the UK with a strong medical capability, the University of Birmingham has played an important role in supporting the UK government and the public in fighting the disease.

The University Hospitals Birmingham group have been treating very large numbers of patients, while researchers in the University’s College of Medical and Dental Sciences are heavily involved in expanding the virus screening capability for Public Health England - working day and night to find ways to combat the virus.

The Student Guild of the University has organised volunteer groups to help the community in need. Under current circumstances, the donations of protection materials and the support from our partner institutions are massively important.

  • 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. Health experts from the University of Birmingham are working with policymakers and doctors to improve healthcare for millions of people in southern China.
  • The history of collaboration between China and the University of Birmingham dates back almost to the foundation of the University in 1901. The China Institute was created to reflect the University’s extensive academic activities its colleagues undertake in China.