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Strokes: Ethnic Groups

Volume 462: debated on Thursday 28 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans her Department has to help raise awareness of the increased risk factors for stroke in people from (a) African Caribbean and (b) South Asian communities. (146077)

The Department has provided Section 64 grants to fund the following projects: The Afiya Trust’s Stroke Awareness for Black and Minority Ethnic Communities project will target black and minority ethnic communities and run stroke awareness sessions within community settings.

The Stroke Association’s Blood Pressure Awareness: African Caribbean Communities project will promote a blood pressure awareness campaign within African Caribbean communities in England.

The Stroke Association’s Stroke Prevention: South Asian Communities project raised awareness of stroke prevention through the production of materials and the dissemination and distribution of these materials.

The risk factors which increase an individual’s chances of suffering a stroke include smoking, drinking alcohol, poor diet and lack of physical activity. Strokes are also more likely in those who suffer from hypertension and diabetes. Through the public health White Paper “Choosing Health” the Department has set out a programme of action to help improve the health of the public including action on smoking and diet. This builds on existing work such as campaigns on smoking and diet, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines on the management of hypertension, points for prevention activities in the general practitioners contract and support for the Blood Pressure Association blood pressure awareness campaigns.

The Coronary Heart Disease and Diabetes National Service Frameworks have also driven forward improvements in primary and secondary prevention of risk factors associated with circulatory disease in general. This includes better control of blood pressure and blood glucose, cholesterol management and the use of aspirin.

The Department is also developing a new national stroke strategy for England which aims to modernise services, not just for those who have had a stroke, but also those at risk of doing so.