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New Wales project for underserved communities launches on World Diabetes Day

14 November 2023

Today is World Diabetes Day, and Kidney Research UK is at the Senedd (the Welsh Parliament). We caught up with Neerja Jain, our health equalities programme manager, to find out why.

Why is today an important day for Kidney Research UK in Wales?

At the Senedd today, we are profiling the Diabetes PACTED Prevention (Protecting) Against Chronic Kidney Disease Through Early Diagnosis project. This is our first peer education collaboration in Wales – funded by NHS Wales Executive and being delivered in partnership between Kidney Research UK, Diabetes UK Cymru, Kidney Wales and a number of community organisations.

Headshot of Neerja Jain
Neerja Jain, health equalities programme manager

Why and how are we teaming up with Diabetes UK Cymru?

The project focuses on people with diabetes from underserved communities in Cardiff and Newport where rates of uACR testing (a test to evaluate kidney health by measuring the amount of a protein called albumin in the urine) are particularly low.

Diabetes is the single largest cause of kidney disease and it is well known that regular monitoring of this protein in people living with diabetes can help early detection, management and possible prevention of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Almost one in five people living with diabetes need treatment for kidney disease during their lifetime. Evidence shows that when recognised early, interventions can be put in place so kidney disease in people with diabetes can be effectively slowed down, thereby improving quality of life and delaying or preventing the transition to kidney failure.

Which communities are we aiming to target and why?

This project is focused on people with diabetes from lower socio economic communities and from South Asian communities in Cardiff and Newport. This is because these communities are the most typically underserved (meaning that traditionally, health services are least likely to be designed with their needs in mind) and yet they are most at risk of kidney disease.

How will we be reaching these communities?

We will be using our evidence-based and multi-award-winning Peer Educator model. Our newly appointed peer educator coordinator Wasim Khan will be recruiting and training a team of peer educators who will get involved in community outreach work, educating and empowering these people, their peers, to access this essential test and find out more about their kidney health.

We’re not reinventing the wheel here are we, what learnings are we bringing from previous projects?

We’ve used our peer educator model to successfully deliver similar projects in other parts of the UK, and other areas of kidney health. We’re taking the best bits from these previous projects and we have adapted this model geographically, and to work in primary care. This is thanks to partnership working with Diabetes UK Cymru, Kidney Wales and a number of community organisations.

What are our ambitions with the project?

So we are aiming to raise awareness of kidney complications for under represented patients with diabetes so that they are educated and empowered to get their uACR testing. We are determined to improve rates of testing that are currently low. We’re hoping we could potentially stop diabetes patients in these communities from developing kidney failure if we help them to identify potential problems earlier.

What can people do if they’d like to get involved?

If this project interests you and you want to make a difference, we would love to hear from you. You could perhaps join us as a volunteer Peer Educator or in other ways. Please get in touch with our supporter care team if you would like to help: or call 0300 303 1100.

Diabetes and kidney disease research

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