Tributes pour in for Walthamstow GP Dr Obaro, who died of Covid-19

The late Dr Augustine Obaro devoted his 17-year GP career in the UK to Waltham Forest

It was announced yesterday that Dr Augustine Obaro, who practiced at Addison Road in Walthamstow, died on New Year’s Day…

A highly-respected Walthamstow GP has died of Covid-19, according the practice where he worked for 17 years.

Dr Augustine Obaro, who joined Addison Road Medical Practice on Ravenswood Road in 2004, died after a short illness on New Year’s Day.

A statement on the surgery’s website read yesterday: “It is with great sadness that we report the sudden death of Dr Augustine Obaro from Covid-19 on 1 January 2021” – though the reference to Covid has since been removed.

Waltham Forest CCG Chair, Dr Ken Aswani and Local Medical Committee Chair, Dr Gabby Ivbijaro, called his death “a tragic loss of highly respected front line health worker” in a joint statement.

It read: “On behalf of all our colleagues, it is with great sadness that we report the loss of our colleague Dr Augustine Obaro who passed away on 1 January 2021 after a short illness. 

“Dr Obaro qualified as a doctor at the University of Maiduguri in Nigeria in 1984. He continued working in Nigeria until 1999 when he moved to the UK to commence training to become a General Practitioner. He completed this training in Kent in February 2004 and has worked as a GP in Waltham Forest ever since. 

“In addition to his role at Addison Road Medical Practice he has done a great deal of work for the out of hours services over the years, most recently with Waltham Forest GP Federation. 

“He continued with his professional development completing a postgraduate diploma in diabetes with the University of Leicester in 2015 and was currently completing further postgraduate education to become a trainer in general practice. 

“Dr Obaro was very well liked by fellow staff and patients. This is a tragic loss of highly respected front line health worker in Walthamstow who is fondly remembered by the CCG, LMC and local GP organisations. 

“Dr Obaro also carried out a significant amount of charitable work, returning to Nigeria with his wife every year to spend time doing voluntary work to improve local healthcare provision in his native village. He was very involved with his community there and also supporting fellow African doctors in the UK. His generosity and benign leadership qualities led to him being given the nickname ‘King’ from a young age. 

“Dr Augustine Obaro will be sadly missed by patients and staff at Addison Road Medical Practice, colleagues, acquaintances and family throughout the UK, Africa and America and especially by his loving wife Elizabeth and sons Raphael, Charles, Osebi and Christopher.”

His son, Raphael, was among the first to lead tributes to his father. On 1st January, @RaphaelObaro posted:

“My Dad, Dr Augustine Obaro died today from covid. He was a great husband to my mum. A wonderful father of 4 and the most giving person I know. I implore everyone out there don’t let another day pass without letting your love ones know how much they mean to you.”

Former patients were quick to praise Dr Obaro as “special”, “charismatic” and “wonderful” on social media.

@Dori_J on Twitter wrote: “Dr Obaro was so special. He was my family’s GP. The community of Walthamstow is stunned and devastated by this dreadful news.”

Another, @rusherreturns, tweeted: “Dr Obaro was a lovely man and a brilliant doctor who was so kind to me when I needed it the most, this is so incredibly sad.”

Kath Green, on Twitter as @kathphoto, shared a story of her experience as one of his patients: “So very sad to hear that the wonderful charismatic Dr Obaro passed away. He was a brilliant Dr. 

“My daughter drew a very large round picture of him [at] her appointment, I was mortified. He roared with laughter, made her laugh and pinned it up. Every[time] we visited it was still there!”

Labour MP Stella Creasy also extended her condolences, saying:

“Saddened to hear of the passing of Dr Augustine Obaro, a well liked and respected local GP who served Walthamstow at the Addison Road Surgery. Know many will miss him and thoughts very much with his family and friends at this difficult time.”

GPOnline reports that Dr Obaro is sadly the 15th GP in the UK who has died from Covid-19, and the 13th from a black, asian or minority ethnic (BAME) background.