Army of champions to battle diabetes

Dr Akram Khan

Dr Akram Khan

A number of people 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, which includes 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.

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.

Over the course of 12 months, there will be nine sessions in total and women only groups will also run.

Dr Akram Khan, clinical chair of Bradford City CCG praised the new BBD Champions and the role they would play.

He said: “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.

Lubna, who is 38 and works at the Women Zone women’s centre in Leeds Road, said: “The campaign has certainly made me more aware of the things I can do to improve my health.

“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, who is the BBD Clinical Champion, said: “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.

“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.”

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