UCLan’s final year medicine student Sai Pillarisetti was handpicked to attend the special event
A University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) medicine student was handpicked to speak to MPs in the Houses of Parliament about health issues affecting the country.
Sai Ram Pillarisetti was the only student chosen among the four UK ‘Health Heroes’ who were invited to interact with the ministers and other dignitaries about a variety of issues, including vaccine equity and the importance of UK foreign aid.
He spoke about how much the UK's local health is linked to global health, as Covid-19 has shown, and he highlighted his contributions to global health efforts through the development of a breast health app called ABC’s of Breast Health. The app, which is available in 12 languages, aims to empower women all over India with accurate information about breast cancer and dispel common myths.
"It was an honour and a privilege to attend Parliament and highlight the importance of health for everyone"— Sai Pillarisetti, final year medicine student
The final year Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) student said: “It was an honour and a privilege to attend Parliament and highlight the importance of health for everyone, wherever they are in the world. The UK has done a lot to help others, but there is still so much we can do.”
The 23-year-old, who is undertaking placements at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, commented: “The past two years have shown that how the UK's wellbeing is closely linked with the wellbeing of others. As we begin to turn a corner in the pandemic, we must make sure that the rest of the world comes with us, otherwise we risk slipping backwards if new variants emerge in places without proper protection from the virus.”
Sai was the youngest person who was selected for the event, which was organised by UNICEF, global anti-poverty organisation The One Campaign, Save the Children. He was joined by a general practitioner, a hospital consultant and a nurse.
"It is fantastic that Sai was invited to Parliament to celebrate the amazing work the Health Heroes do"— Anthony Mangnall, MP for Totnes & South Devon
One of the MPs in attendance was Anthony Mangnall, MP for Totnes & South Devon. He said: "It is fantastic that Sai was invited to Parliament to celebrate the amazing work the Health Heroes do. It is a mark of pride for the UK and I'm proud to stand alongside them in the fight for a healthier world.
“Only 12% of individuals in low-income countries like Tanzania have had at least one vaccine dose, in comparison with 90% of those in high-income counties."
Romilly Greenhill, UK Director of ONE, added: "As we're beginning to learn to live with Covid, we must remember that the lessons will only stick if we ensure that everyone, wherever they are in the world, is protected from the virus.
"That means all countries, including the UK, supporting developing countries with what they need. For an effective response to this pandemic, and prevent future ones, requires finance, capacity for manufacturing, and access to doses now."