Local mosque is focus for hepatitis test

Published October 18, 2016 at 14:14

A testing event to raise awareness of Hepatitis C in the local BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) community took place last week.

The event was organised by the Hepatitis C Trust in conjunction with One Voice Blackburn. It was held at Jamia Ghosia Mosque in Blackburn featuring an antibody testing facility with 74 people participating throughout the day. Raising awareness of Hepatitis B and C is part of the Baiter Sehat project run by the local community group. The imam also gave an announcement about the issue of Hepatitis.

Viral hepatitis affects over 700,000 people in the UK. In Blackburn and Darwen there are thought to be over 250 south Asian people living with hepatitis C, more than half probably don’t realise they are living with a potentially life threatening virus.

Mortality and morbidity from chronic hepatitis B and C is rising disproportionately among people from ethnic minorities living in England.

In Blackburn with Darwen the rate of premature mortality from liver disease between 2010 and 2012 is significantly higher than the England average for males and significantly higher than the England average for females.

In some cases people can be affected for years without even knowing, during which time liver damage can occur.

Shabana Begum, South Asian Projects Officer for The Hepatitis C Trust, who conducted the testing said:

There is nothing to be frightened of. There is now a cure available for hepatitis C.

Mohammed Nasir, who was tested said:

This is a great initiative by Hepatitis C Trust and One Voice in coming to mosques and getting the testers here on a Friday. We need more of these type of testing events as it could save someones life. Only last week I attended a funeral of someone who died because of Hepatitis C.

Asif Iqbal, a committee member at Jamia Ghosia Mosque, said:

I feel it is important to raise awareness because of the lack of knowledge people have of this type of disease within the Asian community.

Most people do not even realise they are currently affected by this disease until they are tested. It has been a really good turn out today. We could have easily tested more individuals if we had more test kits.

One Voice Chairman Abrar Hussain said:

We would like to thank Jamia Ghosia Mosque for being such brilliant hosts to this testing event. It has proved very worthwhile. The aim of the Baiter Sehat campaign is to support the BME community in its health needs. This demonstrates the continuing work we are completing with the community.

One Voice is delivering the Baiter Sehat project in partnership with Blackburn with Darwen Council.