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As a part of its continuing community outreach initiatives, BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha, UK (BAPS), hosted a special Health Awareness Day at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Neasden, London, on Sunday 14 September 2008.

The event was inaugurated by the Mayor of Brent, Councillor Ralph Fox, together with Mr Mark Easton, Chief Executive of Brent PCT, and Yogvivek Swami, Head Sadhu at the Mandir.

The aim of the event was to raise awareness in the local community on some of the important health conditions which represent major sources of illness and disability in the UK. Awareness, and early detection of many of these conditions, helps to prevent serious and often disabling consequences.

Experts from a variety of fields spoke and conducted seminars on numerous health issues and services. This included:

* Chronic kidney disease – by Dr David Daubbe (Professor of Nephrology at The Imperial College , University of London)
* Dementia – by Dr Natasha Brijlani (Consultant Psychiatrist at The Priory Hospital)
* Asthma and COPD – by Ms Vikki Knowles (Specialist Nurse) and Mrs Daksha Parmar (Asthma UK)
* Accessing NHS Services – Dr Sella Anant (Public Health Department at Brent PCT)

Additionally, a number of pharmacists, chiropodists and optometrists were also on hand for consultation by attendees.

The event also provided essential guidance and awareness on health issues that particularly affect British Asians. This was supported with a vital screening opportunity for cardiovascular risk factors, led by Dr Devaki Nair (Consultant Lipidologist) and her team from the Department of Lipidology at The Royal Free Hospital.

A number of national charities had also set up stalls with useful information being available throughout the afternoon. The participating charities were:

* Asthma UK
* British Heart Foundation
* Diabetes UK
* MIND
* PCT – Brent
* Stroke Association
* Transplant UK

There was also Basic Life Support Training led by trainers from The British Heart Foundation.

The Day provided valuable information and guidance to over 200 people and raised their awareness to tackle these health conditions at an early stage.

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