According to a new study, people in the UK’s South Asian communities were more likely to test positive for Covid-19, become severely ill and die than any other minority ethnic group in the UK. They have the highest infection rates or are most at risk for complications or poor outcomes from Covid-19.
Waltham Forest is leading the way in actively reaching South Asian communities in East London and beyond, highlighting the importance of regular testing to protect their communities and help stop the spread, especially with the ease of lockdown restrictions and the impending holiday periods.
They are the only local authority in the UK to have distributed almost 100,000 home test kits (each kit includes 7 individual tests)in the borough within the space of just a couple of months, which is a phenomenal achievement.
In the coming weeks, the campaign will have a huge presence across multiple channels where the audience’s demographic are primarily South Asian. These include Muslim Mamas, NuSound Radio and charities such as Muslim Aid and Noor ul Islam.
In their statement released last week, Waltham Forest said:
“As more and more restrictions are eased, we also need to understand that the virus is still among us and everyone, even those who have been vaccinated, is still at risk.
“By working together with key partners in the South Asian community on this campaign, we will be able to reach over 100,000 people from Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds within our borough and beyond who may be at risk from the virus.”
Muslim Mamas state: “We recognise the importance of testing and our responsibility in helping to stop the spread. We have been campaigning throughout Ramadan and afterwards by reminding mamas regularly about testing and how regular testing can help prevent another lockdown.
We’re proud to support Waltham Forest with this campaign, it couldn’t have come at a better time with national protests going on, summer holidays and the lifting of restrictions.”
One Muslim Mama member Nazneen Bagdadi appreciated the campaign work with a note of appreciation: “Thanks for taking the time to raise awareness of this. If you’re going into people’s homes, wear your mask. Especially now when people are having the vaccine. There are much higher chances of being asymptomatic and passing it on to others. Please be careful.”
With this new Indian variant increasing rapidly, the fact that lockdown is easing, coupled with all the protests and demonstrations that are happening nationally, holidays being planned and it being peak wedding season after a year and a half of intetmittent lockdown, it is more imperative now than ever before that the importance of testing is understood to help prevent another lockdown.
Muslim Mamas hosted an excellent live information session by Dr. Abedah Shukur with guests Farah Ahmed (Chair) and Saiba Salam (Vice Chair) from Waltham Forest Women’s Network. Dr. Abedah Shukur is a GP, Medical Educator & Women’s Health Advocate. You can listen to the live below.
Dr Sayeda Abu-Amero was recently on community radio, NuSound Radio, to talk about why it’s important to test for Covid-19, how easy it is to test, and what these variants mean. This comes at a time when Waltham Forest is encouraging everyone, particularly south Asian communities, to continue to take a test despite the easing of lockdown and even if you have been vaccinated.
Sayeda spent 29 years in research and academia with her main focus on complications of pregnancy. She was also chair of Waltham Forest Women’s Network for a number of years and still strongly supports the amazing community work the group carries out tirelessly.
In the last few years, Sayeda has taken a break to follow her passion for food and now manages a Palestinian restaurant. Listen to the 30 minutes conversation here: https://www.nusoundradio.com/
Whether one has symptoms or not, testing can help people determine if they are infected and whether they are at risk of spreading the infection to others.
Waltham Forest’s volunteer Stay Safe Champions have been engaging closely with various diverse communities in order to help overcome barriers in accessing testing, notably in areas that have shown that testing rates are very low. The borough as a whole has been working hard to establish programs that will ensure access to and acceptance of rapid testing.
If there is one thing that is proven, all communities can work together to help control the Covid-19 pandemic by following public health practices.
If all communities across the UK work together to take these measures, it will not only prevent the spread of infection, it will also be more effective in the long run to get back to some semblance of normality.
Covid-19 is still rife and still infectious. Stay safe and test regularly.
To read the Waltham Forest press release regarding this campaign, click here.
For more information on the importance of testing regularly, click here.
To find out where your local Community Collect is for free testing kits, click here.