A University of Dundee spinout company is looking to help diabetic Muslims to fast safely this Ramadhan.
Produced by MyWay Digital Health, the new program called ‘Diabetes and Ramadan’ is a response to the many complications Muslim people with diabetes face when fasting. These include low blood sugar, diabetic ketoacidosis and dehydration. It is believed that these complications can be mitigated by good self-management, awareness of the risks around fasting and diet, and adjusting medication.
But there still remains an issue. Despite the new program and its many brilliant pieces of advice, many Muslims with diabetes lack an understanding of these issues and healthcare professionals may not fully understand the impact of Ramadhan on Muslims with diabetes.
Prior to Ramadhan 2022, MyWay Digital Health organised and ran a pilot of the project and it was received positively by patients and healthcare professionals.
After the many benefits reported from the pilot, MyWay has now introduced two free online courses – one for Diabetic Muslims and their families and another for healthcare professionals on how they can manage things with Diabetic Muslim patients.
The course is available in three languages including English, Malay and Arabic.
Collaborating With Others
MyWay was not alone in working on this project. They collaborated with the University of Edinburgh, the University of Putra Malaysia as well as the British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA).
Dr Salman Waqar, President of BIMA, said, “The holy month of Ramadan is extremely important to Muslims around the world. It is a month of much benefit but for some people, such as those with diabetes, there are obstacles to navigate.
“It is not only patients who may not know how to best adapt. Doctors, nurses, and other health professionals may not understand all the issues around Ramadan, especially in a country like the UK where Muslims form a minority, and professionals may not have been taught this in their training. Put all together, this can lead to inequalities in how Muslims with diabetes experience healthcare.
“That is why we were delighted to work with MyWay Digital Health on this project and to help address disparities.”
Challenging The Narrative
Up until recently, research surrounding diabetes has mainly been done by studying white populations with Western European ancestry. This has of course led to many inconsistencies in research and has only provided a more polarised version of the narrative of diabetic people from other racial groups.
This is why the University of Dundee is different as it looks to address this issue. In one example, the University of Dundee researchers found distinct forms of type 2 diabetes in South Asians, a timely and crucial development that influences matters of prognosis and management of the disease.
Main Image Credit: Towfiqu barbhuiya (Unsplash)