Project Overview
Current Project
Project Aims & Objectives
Methods of Implementations




Promoting health and well-being for Bangladeshi families is one of the key aims of the BWHP. BWHP is now running a project “Improving health with small steps” that will aim to provide a programme of support to the Bangladeshi women which is uniquely designed to meet their needs. In particular, the project aims to provide health promotion messages on healthy lifestyles in a way that builds on community’s knowledge and skills, and that takes into account their cultural and religious needs as well as traditional lifestyles.

Although there is no Camden specific figure, national data indicates a very high prevalence some chronic diseases among South Asian communities (that includes Bangladeshis as well)
They are 50 per cent more likely to die prematurely from coronary heart disease than the general population.
They are three times more likely than most people to have diabetes.
The prevalence of stroke among South Asian men (and African Caribbean) is 70% higher than the average.

The Bangladeshi community in Camden is the most disadvantaged and socially excluded communities in the borough. Various surveys have highlighted poorer health status of the Bangladeshis with the higher rates of a number of long term illnesses like i.e. coronary heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, gastric ulcers. Most of these health issues and diseases are related to poor diet and unhealthy lifestyles.

In 2004 BWHP in partnership with Camden PCT produced a comprehensive resource book
“Eating for a Healthy Life – a guide to Bangladeshi Eating Pattern” in response to identified need of project members to produce culturally appropriate information that are relevant to community’s eating patterns. In 2005 -2006 BWHP run a pilot programme on diet and nutrition with Bangladeshi women which were very well received by the participants.

Building on the success of that programme the current project ‘Improving health with small steps’ aims to be more interactive so as to give the participants a better understanding of healthy lifestyle issues and help them to make informed choice about their health.

Following this programme the participants will also
have a better knowledge and understanding of the basic elements of a healthy diet as the ‘model plate’ and the dietary guidelines.
identify nutrition related health concerns like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
have increased confidence in incorporating traditional Bangladeshi food into the balanced diet
recognise the role of regular physical activity in leading healthy lifestyle.

The Bengali Women’s Health Project is a community initiative set up to help overcome the cultural and language barriers that may prevent Bangladeshi women from accessing health services.

The project is a partnership between six local community centres and Camden Primary Care Trust (PCT). The PCT contributes funding towards health promotion sessions. The community centres provide venues, staff, and advertising.

Bengali Women’s Health Project aimed to:
Increase women’s knowledge about six key topic areas
Help women have more healthy behaviours
Attract new people to take part in the sessions
Demonstrate healthy eating through the provision of healthy snacks
Encourage women to take part in regular exercise sessions.

The project co-ordinators worked with an independent evaluator to document success and to highlight any areas that might benefit from development. The main methods used to collate information for this report were:

Discussions with the project steering group and community workers in meetings
Documentary analysis
Observation of health promotion sessions
Feedback forms about women’s and staff’s views completed at the end of workshop sessions
Informal discussions with participants, including group discussions and case studies
Attendance logs

Camden has one of the large proportions of Bangladeshi families in the UK. The Bengali Women’s Health Project was set up in 1990 as a ‘grass roots’ initiative in response to research by Bengali community workers which found a lack of Bengali-speaking professionals locally. The researchers recommended the provision of health advice sessions in community centres as a way to increase access to information and support. Seventeen years later, the gap in access to information and support related to health, social care, and mental health remains. Bangladeshi women may be isolated, feel marginalised, and live in relatively disadvantaged conditions.

The Bangladeshi Women’s Health Project aims to provide social and learning opportunities to address these needs in a community environment.

The project’s focus on women reflects the role of women as key caregivers in Bangladeshi families, and also the specific health and mental health issues which affect women as a result of migration,culture change, and social isolation. In October 1990, the first health promotion sessions were run in two centres; Hopscotch Asian Women’s Centre and Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Centre. Since then four other centres have also begun hosting doctor’s sessions and health promotion workshops regularly. Each centre maintains records of women who regularly attend sessions. More than500 women are registered.

In 2004 the project became a registered charity. It is funded jointly by the voluntary sector and statutory services, and works closely with health promotion services to develop bilingual resources. The project is managed by a Steering Group made up of representatives from each of the six community centres involved in providing activities, female Bangladeshi doctors, and statutory services.

The group has a Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer, elected at an annual AGM. The Steering Group meets six times each year to review progress and consider priorities. Statutory sector representatives
are invited in order to promote two-way communication, mutual support, and shared perspectives. In particular, Camden PCT has a senior health promotion worker responsible for liaison with the project
team. This helps to ensure that the project is responsive to the priorities of the health economy, and that the PCT receives regular feedback about the needs of Bangladeshi families.



Copyright © 2009 BWHP. All Rights Reserved Design by London Design House