Doctor's sessions
Exercise sessions
Infant feeding
Camden Bangladesh Mela
Project Benefits
Behaviour change
Other outcomes
New participants

The Bengali Women's Health Project (BWHP) is a community initiative run and managed by frontline voluntary sector workers in Camden. The key aims of the project are:

- To promote the health and well-being of Bangladeshi women in Camden
- To support Bangladeshi women in exercising their right to health and social care services.

BWHP was established in 1990 to help overcome the cultural, religious and language barriers that often prevented Bangladeshi women accessing local health services, in particular having full medical assessment from a male doctor. The project aimed to tackle this by organising weekly health advisory session in a number of community centers run by female Bengali speaking health advisors. The advisors were able to conduct a full GP surgery type interview and examination, but couldn't prescribe. All further care was arranged through the women's own GP.

In 1995 the project employed a part-time worker which enabled the project to extend its activities to tackle the wider issues which affect the health of the local Bangladeshi women. These included raising awareness of preventative and self-help approaches to health and organising exercise and various other health initiatives such as healthy cooking/eating workshops on regular basis. In 2004 the project achieved its charitable status.

Over the years BWHP has continued to grow from strength to strength with the dedication, commitment of the community workers guiding the project work. Since its establishment the sustained financial support that the BWHP received from the local health authority (currently Camden PCT) has been instrumental in its success particularly in tackling mental health and nutritional issues in the Bangladeshi community.

In 2007 a comprehensive report on BWHP by an independent evaluator (annual report 2006-7) concluded that the project has been making a real difference to women's lives by increasing confidence, enhancing knowledge and helping women change to healthier lifestyles. Despite this, in 2007-8 Camden PCT drastically reduced funding to the project with the total withdrawal of funding in 2008-9.

During 2008-9 BWHP has been running its work programme on minimal level - mainly organising workshops in partnership with a range of providers in voluntary and statutory sectors. In April 2009 BWHP was awarded Grassroots small grant to run a project 'Improving health with small steps' to provide health promotion messages on healthy lifestyles focusing on nutrition and fitness issues with a rolling programme of 12 workshops at four community centres that includes talk, discussion, cookery demonstration and recipe tasting.



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