21st October 2006

Award winning diabetes prevention campaign

Award winning diabetes prevention campaign gets govenment seal of approval

Pioneering work helping to combat diabetes in Warwickshire’s south Asian community is to get the Government seal of approval. The Apnee Sehat project, recent winner of the National Obesity Forum’s Award for Excellence in the Community will be celebrating in style with Health Minister Rosie Winterton.

Ms Winterton will be visiting health and community leaders at the Gurdwara Temple, Leamington, on Tuesday October 17 to see for herself how the work is helping to revolutionise the lives of the area’s south Asian population.

The campaign has been developed to try and stem the high instances of diabetes, strokes and heart attacks within the south Asian community. Partners involved in the work include the Warwickshire Primary Care Trust, South Warwickshire General Hospitals NHS Trust, the University of Warwick, and various community and private organisations.

Laurence Tennant, Interim Chief Executive of the Warwickshire Primary Care Trust, said: “We are delighted that the Minister has agreed to visit and to see for herself the special work that is taking place within the community. “Everyone connected with the project has worked very hard to get to this point and recognition by the Government means a great deal.”

Spearheading the campaign has been the production of a special DVD – Apnee Sehat (Our Health) – produced by the PCT with funding from pharmaceutical company sanofi-aventis.

The educational DVD, launched at the House of Commons in March, offers advice to the south Asian community on ways to reduce the risk of developing diabetes together with other problems such as strokes or heart attacks. It can also be used as a model for other PCTs looking to introduce similar initiatives.

Sanofi –aventis, managing director, Nigel Brooksby said; "The Apnee Sehat project was developed in response to a greater incidence of heart disease and diabetes in the south Asian population. Sanofi-aventis is delighted to support this important initiative which is a leading example of how partnerships between communities, local healthcare providers, academics, charities and industry can work to help tackle health inequalities."

Instrumental in producing the DVD and helping to develop the wider campaign has been local health champion Dr Shirine Boardman, Consultant Diabetologist at South Warwickshire General Hospitals NHS Trust.

Dr Boardman, who will be outlining her work to the Minister, said: “This project is very important not just to the south Asian community of South Warwickshire but to the population as a whole.

“We need to minimise the risk of people developing diabetes and related problems by encouraging them to make healthy changes to their diet and lifestyles. The message is particularly relevant at this time of year when we are celebrating Diwali – the festival of lights where food plays an integral part in the celebrations.”

“The community and I will be explaining to the Minister about the importance of the work and to explain how the model developed here in South Warwickshire could be useful in similar communities in other parts of the country.”

Satoru Noguchi managing director of Takeda UK; who will be supporting future Apnee Sehat developments said; “Takeda UK are delighted to be involved with such an innovative and exciting initiative that will benefit local communities”

Professor Yvonne Carter OBE, Dean of the Warwick Medical School, said: "Warwick Medical School has developed significant expertise, and a national and international reputation, in the areas of ethnic minority healthcare and diabetes.

“We are delighted to be a key part of this project which uses our research strengths to benefit our local community."

Councillor Mota Singh, of Warwickshire County Council and in whose ward the centre is based, said: “This campaign has made a difference to the community’s health and could go a long way in the fight against diabetes.

“It is very important work and we thank the Minister for her visit and hope that the information she has been given will be useful to the Government.”