Building relationships in the community

Date published: 07 February 2014

Local organisations are strengthening relationships with the South Asian and other minority communities in Rochdale.

NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Group (NHS HMR CCG) was happy to participate in a multi-agency visit to the Central Mosque Rochdale, facilitated by BME Health Matters. The purpose of the visit was to start a two way exchange between the Mosque and local groups. Other local groups in attendance included Healthwatch Rochdale, Link4Life, Rochdale Circle and Groundwork.

As a commissioner of local health services, it is particularly important for NHS HMR CCG to understand the different cultures in Rochdale borough and how this influences the choices that people make about their lifestyle and how they use health and other services. During the visit, the organisations learnt about the Muslim culture and how this impacts on health. Mufti Imam Zaid led a presentation about Islam, including an introduction to the cycle of prayers that Muslims are required to carry out daily. A question and answer session followed.

Dr Chris Duffy, local GP and Chairman of NHS HMR CCG, said: “This is the first in a series of visits to the Mosque, as part of the CCG’s commitment to learning about and engaging with all our local communities. By visiting the Mosque we are starting a two way exchange of views and getting a real insight in to the way the people in these communities live. For example, Muslims see the Mosque as a hub, even for health matters. By taking the time to come together and recognise our differences, I am hopeful we will build strong relationships that will inform the commissioning decisions we make.”

Mufti Imam Zaid at Central Mosque Rochdale, said: “It is important for both the Mosque and local health orgnanisations to have a mutual understanding; Asian and Musilm communities need to understand local health services available to them, and it is important that local organisations realise that these communities see the Mosque as a central hub. We hope that building relationships with local organisations will be a way to get health messages to our communities and break health stigmas.”

Khalid Bashir, BME Health Matters, added: “It is essential to give partners the opportunity to see the Mosque, some of whom had never been inside a Mosque before. I believe that by initiating such events, we will get a better understanding towards each other. The first meeting went so well that I have been inundated with requests for more people to visit!”

Several other visits to the Rochdale Central Mosque are currently being planned. In the not too distant future, NHS HMR CCG would like to organise a health stall at the Mosque, which will be an opportunity to talk directly to communities at the Mosque.

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