We are the champions in the fight against diabetesAn army of champions is preparing to go into battle to beat diabetes in Bradford.
The new workers have been recruited as part of the Bradford Beating Diabetes campaign and will be known as Bradford Beating Diabetes (BBD) Champions.
There are 20 BBD champions altogether – a mix of volunteers, practice staff, health trainers and people who have worked as health champions before. They are all based within Bradford City CCG which is spearheading the Bradford Beating Diabetes campaign.
Their role will be to work with people within the city who have been identified as being at risk of developing diabetes, and support them in making changes to their lifestyle.
Those identified as being at risk have been referred by their GP to the BBD champions who will be running the NICE- recommended Intensive Lifestyle Change Programme (ILCP) groups.
The groups will cater for 10 to 15 people and will be informal and friendly but with key messages about lifestyle changes including healthy eating and exercise – all of which will be aimed at delaying the onset of diabetes. These lifestyle changes also reduce the risk of developing other serious conditions such as cancer, stroke and heart disease.
They will be held at GP practices and community venues throughout the city, and will be held at various times of the day and week to make it as convenient as possible for people to attend. Over the course of 12 months, there will be nine sessions in total and women only groups will also run.
The BBD champions come from a range of backgrounds and between them speak a number of languages, including the main south Asian languages. Their training began in November last year, culminating with the presentation of the ‘Understanding Health Improvement Award.’ They were chosen because of their good mix of skills and their strengths in community engagement.
Dr Akram Khan, clinical chair of Bradford City CCG praised the new BBD Champions and the role they would play.
“The work the BBD Champions will be doing is both innovative and proactive in that they will be proving vital and positive support that can stop people from being ill. The message is all about lifestyle change and the difference that can make,” said Dr Khan, who is a diabetic himself.
“The BBD Champions will be doing a great job helping people to understand the steps they can take to prevent or delay the development of diabetes.”
One of the newly-appointed BBD champions is Lubna Khalid, who herself has been identified at being at risk of developing diabetes because of medication she takes, following a kidney transplant three years ago.
“The campaign has certainly made me more aware of the things I can do to improve my health,” said Lubna, who is 38 and works at the Women Zone women’s centre in Leeds Road.
“I have stopped taking sugar in my tea and now I eat a lot more fruit and vegetables, as well as trying to exercise more. As a diabetes champion I am really looking forward to helping others make improvements to their lifestyle. Making changes is always so much easier when you have the support of others.”
Bradford GP Dr Kulpana Patel has been appointed as a BBD Clinical Champion. “I got involved because I wanted to improve my own knowledge of diabetes and because I was inspired by the Bradford Beating Diabetes campaign. Diabetes is a major problem and if we can work together to delay its onset in patients, then that has to be a good thing,” said Dr Patel, who works across two Bradford GP practices.
She added: “Diabetes is also something very close to my heart, as my grandfather suffered from Type II diabetes and sadly died, age 70 as a result of complications. He had lost the sight in one eye and had advanced kidney disease. My uncle also has Type II diabetes and is on insulin.
“I think it’s vital that we raise awareness of diabetes and try to help as many people who are at risk, as possible.”
Note: The Bradford Beating Diabetes campaign was launched on November 14th, World Diabetes Day. Its aim is to raise awareness of the disease and to prevent people from developing it. In the first phase, the campaign will identify people in the City who are at risk and ensure they receive the right treatment and support.
There are over 7.500 diabetic patients in the City area with an additional 5,700 people at moderate or high risk. The campaign is set to run until at least March 2015.
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