The GMISDN data suggests that fewer people, particularly from Bury, Oldham, North Manchester, and Rochdale, attend hospital within the time-critical windows for treatment.
The BMHC is committed to working in partnership with GMISDN to ensure it does not adversely impact the quality of stroke care and support received by the Muslim community. Hence the areas of the initial focus of our project:
- Ensuring early recognition of the symptoms of stroke and taking appropriate action quickly i.e. Act Face Arms Speech Time (to dial 999).
- Ensuring people better understand how they can prevent having a stroke or a re-stroke.
Stroke Awareness and Support
We are pleased to work in partnership with the Greater Manchester Integrated Stroke Delivery Networks (GMISDN) to improve the engagement of the Muslim community to reduce health inequalities within Greater Manchester.
Stroke is the largest cause of disability in the UK and the fourth biggest killer. In Greater Manchester, around 4,500 residents a year have a stroke, with approximately 13% dying at the time and a quarter within a year. Around two-thirds of stroke survivors are left with some form of physical, mental, or emotional disability – often completely life- changing. Increasing the awareness of stroke will contribute towards prevention. This will include risk factors that many Muslims (Pakistani and Bangladeshi origins) often face and usually result from unhealthy lifestyles – diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, smoking, poor diet, lack of exercise, etc.
Our experience also shows that South Asian descent in the UK has strokes around ten years earlier on in their lives. South Asian people are almost twice as likely to develop diabetes which is a big risk factor. People from deprived backgrounds are also more likely to have a stroke and often have more severe strokes. In addition, as you have highlighted, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted inequalities already present in our health and social care system, and that has previously been well documented. Like African Caribbean communities, the Muslim community (particularly Pakistani and Bangladeshi) has had a disproportionate Covid- 19 impact, which has added to the challenges they faced due to discrimination, exclusion in society, and difficulties accessing public sector services.