A Kidney Research UK project set up to promote awareness of kidney disease in Glasgow has succeeded in reaching 4,500 people who are at significantly increased risk from the illness.
The Glasgow Peer Educator project – the first of its kind in Scotland – began in 2010 and was established specifically to help the city’s South Asian community.
Although kidney disease can affect anyone at any time in their life, kidney failure is up to five times more common in people from Black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) communities.
As a result, while only 11 per cent of the UK population is made up of people from BAME communities, this same group accounts for more than a quarter of all patients on the NHS’s kidney transplant waiting list.
Neerja Jain, Health Improvement Projects Manager for Kidney Research UK, said: “The increased prevalence of kidney disease among BAME communities is partly the result of genetic predisposition and partly because of lifestyle factors.
“We’ve found that people from these communities are also less likely to acquire valuable health information about their risk of kidney disease from conventional sources, such as their GP. This project was therefore designed to combat the spread of kidney disease by approaching those most at risk directly.”
In order to achieve this, Kidney Research UK worked closely with the West of Scotland Regional Equality Council (WSREC) to recruit Peer Educators – lay people from the same ethnic background as those being targeted.
Thanks to funding from Glasgow-based Kwik-Fit Insurance Services, the Charity was then able to give these Peer Educators specialist training so that they go out into their communities and teach others about the importance of good kidney health.
Special awareness events were held throughout Glasgow; warning people about kidney disease and helping them understand what steps they could take to reduce their risk.
Mr Hanzala Malik MSP, Chair of WSREC, said, “The feedback from this exercise has been overwhelmingly positive. People have pledged to take steps including reducing salt intake and increasing exercise that will benefit not only kidney health but overall wellbeing.”
In all, the project succeeded in reaching more than 4,500 people from ‘at risk’ communities, including Indian Jesuit and Malayalam communities.
However, it was also found that a lack of basic information had resulted in distressingly low levels of awareness about kidney disease and related issues – highlighting the need to promote kidney health within other minority groups across Scotland and the rest of the UK.
For more information about kidney disease, or to take a free online health check to see if you are at risk from the illness, visit: www.kidneyresearchuk.org.
Kidney Research UK Press Office: 01733 367 860 or out of hours: 07733 103 830
Notes to Editors:
About Kidney Research UK
Kidney Research UK is the largest funder dedicated to research into kidney disease in the UK. Founded in 1961, the organisation recently celebrated its 50th anniversary supporting ground-breaking medical research to save lives.
Kidney disease is a silent killer and every year more than 51,000 people are treated for kidney failure, 3,000 people die on dialysis, while 300 die waiting for a kidney transplant.
Kidney Research UK is dedicated to substantially reducing these numbers through funding life-saving research into kidney disease and by generating public awareness of kidney health.
90 per cent of people on the transplant list are waiting for a kidney, which is approximately 7,000 patients. Even though cases of kidney failure are increasing by five per cent every year, Kidney Research UK must turn down four out of every five research proposals it receives due to a lack of funding - proposals which are aimed at enhancing treatments and ultimately finding a cure for kidney disease.