PI: Chris Coe (Institute of Health)
Funding body: Sanofi –Aventis, Charitable grant
The prevalence of premature diabetes and heart disease in the south Asian community (ethnic groups originating from the Indian subcontinent) is six fold higher than the national average and rising. This was the basis for the development of a healthy lifestyle intervention programme for the south Asian community in a Midlands town whose community is predominantly, eighty per cent, of Sikh Punjabi origin. This particular community currently holds the largest concentration of Punjabis in one town outside London. The need for a diabetes/ metabolic clinic was identified by the community, and commenced in January 2007.
Diabetes is of major concern in the United Kingdom (UK) and developed world. Numbers are rising and currently, 2.3 million people, an average of 3.7% of the UK population are diagnosed with this chronic and progressive disorder. The prevalence of diabetes is not evenly distributed throughout the population and in the south Asian community (ethnic groups originating from the Indian subcontinent) is six fold higher than the national average and rising (Barnett et al, 2002).
Apnee Sehat is a Community Interest Company (CIC), working in the Foleshill area of Coventry since June 2008 in order to deliver education and screening programs for the south Asian community. It aims to:
- Deliver services to improve heath and which are culturally sensitive, easily understandable and transferable
- Educate the community on health risk factors pertinent to their genetic predisposition and lifestyle choices
- Support behaviour change to improve health outcomes
- Identify cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors such as hypertension, hyperlipidaemia and diabetes
Apnee Sehat services currently consist of the following; community health screenings and education, diabetes education, educational dietician led shopping trips and dietician led cooking sessions. These elements of Apnee Sehat are held in various local venues, including health and community centres and places of worship.
An evaluation of Apnee Sehat reports raised awareness, understanding, satisfaction, engagement and self reported evidence of behaviour change at 6 weeks and 6 months, following screening and education. Elements of the Apnee Sehat project create a toolbox that has potential for transfer to other communities in the UK.
‘We would just appreciate it if you would have more education into diabetes round here, because being Asian its more serious, it involves more Asian people…we need more information on it’
(User Diabetes Education, SN38)
This quote echoes the findings of the report in regard to the acceptability and perceived need by the community for an initiative such as Apnee Sehat bringing tailored, accessible and culturally sensitive services to the community.