Why Diabetes in Tower Hamlets?
Tower Hamlets has a large Muslim community (36%) and understanding how religious beliefs and cultural values shape behaviour and attitudes to healthcare is essential if their needs and health problems are to be addressed. The PCT identified diabetes as a priority, as there are an estimated 13-14,000 people with diabetes in the borough, largely occurring within the Asian community – a prevalence rate of three times the national average.
Feedback from patients and service providers has been extremely positive. Many patients were very appreciative of an approach which incorporates faith and information in their first language, and expressed a desire for more resources covering other illnesses prevalent in the community, such as asthma, gastric problems, heart conditions and depression. Consultants and nurses were particularly pleased to have been directly consulted, allowing them to inform the development of a useful resource. Their engagement with the pilot was instrumental in ensuring its relevance to everyday practice, and their feedback following the pilot will inform further improvements to this approach.
“There was a young, intelligent man who came to me with Type 1 diabetes who told me he was going to fast during Ramadan and I said ‘please don’t, you will die’. I gave him the DVD and said, ‘maybe you will find something in here to help’. He got through Ramadan, though I don’t know how or what he did, so if that stopped him from being admitted to hospital, if you save one person, then that’s brilliant.”
Nurse, Diabetes Clinic, Mile End Hospital
“My dad has diabetes, and I think it’s really useful that it’s in Sylheti. It would be really good if you could do another project for depression in different languages, especially in Bengali, but also other minority languages as well, because that’s a real problem here in the community.”
Patient, Female, 22, Shah Jalal clinic
“My wife suffers from diabetes, and this DVD is good, it’s very good. I speak English, but it’s nice to have it in my mother tongue as well. Also, it would be good to know more about asthma, how to take medicine, gastric diseases”
Patient, Male, 63, Mile End Hospital
“The Islamic point of view is very good; it’s more inclusive and reaches more people. Other resources we have been given before have been useless; the patients cannot understand the advice. This is particularly good for people who have just been diagnosed, but also good as a reminder for long-term sufferers.”
Diabetes Nurse, Varma Surgery
Watch our films and visit our website to learn more about how to look after your health if you have diabetes.