London, June 11 (BAN/ SL): The Oshwal Health & Care Awareness Fair (OHCAF), on Sunday 2 June 2019 at Oshwal Centre focused on health, well-being, care and career opportunities and was aimed at all ages. The event had a large number of volunteers from medical professionals to general volunteers. The sun was shining to make it a perfect family affair and the turnout was fantastic with people eager to learn.
The Oshwal Health & Care Awareness Fair aims to promote:
The event had stalls ranging from health advisory, career, workshops, diagnostic test, and healthy food demonstrations. Food was catered for to match the event with a healthy menu and refreshments served throughout the day.
The Fair hosted prominent specialist speakers to provide an overview of particular health issues and the specific care requirements.
A list of speakers who were all volunteers was as follows:
Heart Disease/Stroke by Mr Sunil Bhudhia/ Dr JitenTolia
Dementia/Alzeimers by Lena Chauhan/ Dr Vinay Shah
Cancer by Mr Paul Mulholland/ Dr Pratik Shah
Diabetes by Dr Mahesh Shah
Drugs, Smoking & Alcohol by Dr Deepti Shah-Armon
Mental Health by Dr Chirag Gorasia
Care & Finance Requirements by Mitesh Dhanak and Vishal Shah
Oral Health by Dr Shama Shah
Nutrition by Smita Ganatra
Will Writing & LPAs by Shandip Shah
Stress & Happiness by Shaileen Shah
Breast Cancer by Dr Noyko S Stanilov
Sports Injuries by Rushabh Savla
Chiropractor by Dr Lalit Sodha
The OHCAF Organising Committee said “What an amazing day it was on Sunday when there were some 2800 people in attendance. There was a real buzz around Oshwal Centre. It showed how well the community can be connected with all age groups. This definitely would not have been possible without all of you, the volunteers. The feedback from the attendees has been very positive”.
British Asia news visited the Dementia/Alzheimer’s talk by Lena Chauhan and Dr Vinay Shah. Dr Vinay Shah spoke about his personal experience and challenges faced when his mother was diagnosed with Dementia over 10 years ago. He described it as being in a sphere and even though he was used to seeing patients who had dementia nothing had prepared him for when he actually experienced being a carer and going through this with his own family.
He was so eloquent when expressing his own emotions and took us on his journey with him.
Lena Chauhan asked the audience to “look around you at the person sitting next to you, one of you will have Alzheimer’s.” Although people laughed at first they quickly realised this was reality, she went on to state that “even if you do not have Alzheimer’s you will be caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, so indirectly you will be affected by this”.
“As there is no known real cure for this “she asked the audience what the best thing for us to do now is, voices from the audience responded with many answers prevention being one. “Yes, Prevention! with Alzheimer’s you can lessen the symptom’s” said Lena.
Lena coming from a banking profession cared for 30 people with Alzheimers to put her theory to the test. What did she do to better their symptoms, did she have a miracle cure, no, did she do magic, no….”I bought in normal lifestyle interventions which we all quite frankly have to start with. There have been known positive factors linked to changes in lifestyle” she said. Of course she highlighted that change is never easy, “we hate change but we have to do it, start with small steps”. Food changes, exercise, socialising and brain activities were key factors that she highlighted helped, “learning something new means your brain can change the way it activates”.
The talk was a success with people flocking to Lena and Dr Shah to have a chat after the talk.
Whilst wondering through the stalls I stopped to speak to Lalit Sodha who is a Chiropractor in Pinner and in practice for the last 28 years. He tells British Asia News “Chiropractic is a way of lifestyle which is a complimentary care to mainstream medicine. Chiropractor’s looks at the structure of the body to the spine, skeleton system, muscle and your nervous system, as long as your 3 systems are functioning in harmony we believe that will give you optimal health”.
When people think they are in pain they sometimes ignore it and they believe it will go away “pain is a symptom telling you something is wrong, do not ignore it” he says.
Lalit believes that a lot of awareness is missing, “health check’s should be done yearly, eye check, diabetes check, dental, well-woman and well-man checks, however everybody forgets that there is the spine that controls the whole body and that’s what needs a check. People don’t know this; it is not that they don’t want to do it, they don’t know that they need it checked”
So how does one get a spine check we ask and Lalit tells us that “the spine is looked at from not just the inside but also the outside, we go through ranges of movement to see what flexibility levels you have, we go through some basic orthopaedic neurological test to identify that the neuro and joint function is optimal. We scan your spine to check muscle activities, we have x-rays MRI so you get a proper assessment.”
We stopped to speak to Katy Portell the ambassador program manager for NHS blood and transplant who said “we love coming out to events within the Asian community because there is a lot of support for organ donation and we are welcomed”.
According to Katy many people sign up at events like these. When we go out to communities it’s an opportunity to raise awareness, sometime people haven’t really thought about organ donation so they haven’t made that decision and it’s an opportunity to ask questions, we want people to ask questions so they get the correct information so they can make a decision they are comfortable with.” Katy explains that it is important to have family discussions about organ donation “events like today’s event allows families to have a discussion with the experts present so they get all the right information and misconception and myths can be put right, family conversations are key. We want people to see organ donation as a positive thing, it saves lives, its touched members of this community already…it does disproportionally affect the BAME communities on the transplant waiting list there are individuals who are waiting for solid organ transplant, 30% of the waiting list is from BAME”
With her was Prafula Shah, an NHS blood and transplant ambassador for organ donor in London and South East. It all started back in March 2018 when she donated her kidney to her niece through the Kidney sharing scheme and then came up the ambassador role to promote this in the Asian community. Prafula told British Asia news “I think there’s a lot of need for information and education for the Asian community, it’s something that they don’t know wholly about. When we actually talk to people they are very receptive of giving blood and signing up for the organ donor register. The need in the Asian community is greater than other places because we have some things which are inherent in our make-up, for example high blood pressure, diabetes and that means often we are in need of in particularly kidney donations much more than other communities but it also means we wait longer because there are not many people coming forward to donate”.
We also spoke to Geeta Shah who donated a kidney to a friend whom she’s known since her teens, she had a failed kidney due to hereditary. Her kidney function was deteriorating and so Prafula offered her kidney. Friend’s questioned her decision asking her why she is giving away her kidney. She thought about the couple who lived down the road who went in for dialysis every other day to the hospital and she thought that was there life hospital and back with a bag attached, “I can’t have a friend go through that, who had younger children than me” Geeta said. And she made her decision to donate her kidney and decided on a date 15th May 2017. “And that was it I have not looked back since”. Geeta said. “My friend is doing really well and now has a job, her own business, she drives she has had a second lease of life and I feel like I have done my deed and I have helped somebody”.
Many other health awareness organisations were present and each table had crowds of people eager to learn and get information.
We entered a room where children were learning basic first aid run by Jamie Shah a paediatrician. He designed role plays for groups of children teaching them what to do if they find a family member in the house on the floor not responding. His short course taught children how to phone 999 and ask for an ambulance, what information they would need and finally how to put the person into the recovery position whilst they wait for help/ambulance.
The event was creative in its teaching to all ages and the great thing about fairs such as this is it brings awareness to people on how to look after their own health and people around them. OHCALF certainly done what it said on the label-inform people, educate people, bring about awareness and provide a network of services available to help them. We need more of these Health Awareness fairs to go around the UK catering for and educating the Asian communities. What a fantastic, informative and a successful event which honestly was a great learning experience for me too. Thank you Lena Chauhan for inviting British Asia news to an inspirational event.