Genetics study in Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities will take action on health inequality

Queen Mary University of London

People of Bangladeshi and Pakistani origin have some of the highest rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and poor health in the UK. Social Action for Health (SAfH), a health inequality and community development charity, wants people to act to change this.

SAfH are working with Queen Mary University of London to promote the biggest study in the world researching genetics in people of Bangladeshi and Pakistani heritage. With the tagline #OurGenesOurHealth, they hope that British Bangladeshi and Pakistani people can be part of the movement making medical studies representative of those that will benefit most.

Breaking the cycle of health inequality

The research study, Genes & Health, aims to help fight against major diseases and SAfH are raising awareness of the study and encouraging people to take part. Genes & Health are hoping to get the attention of British Pakistanis and Bangladeshis by sharing a video they have produced with the help of members of the local Pakistani, Bangladeshi communities and Centre of the Cell Youth Membership Forum.

The video features children filmed in their own homes highlighting the diseases they are more at risk of developing and making a plea to their community to give five minutes of their time to provide a once in a lifetime saliva sample and fill in a short form to help change their future. This will contribute to breaking the cycle of health inequality, improving medications and treatment and increasing representation of these groups in medical research improving health and life chances for future generations.

Resarch made possible by Genes & Health volunteers is already making a difference. For example, data from Genes & Health has helped show that one of the reasons some British Bangladeshi and British Pakistani people have very severe covid-19 is because an inherited genetic risk factor is 4 times more common in the South Asian community.

By volunteering this Eid and beyond, British Pakistani and Bangladeshi can join almost 50,000 people already signed up to give the gift (#GiveAGiftForEid) of a saliva sample to improve their community’s representation in a health research.

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