MyWay to help Muslims find their way of fasting safely
Published on 3 March 2023
A University of Dundee spinout company specialising in diabetes care is helping Muslim people with the condition to fast safely during Ramadan.
‘Diabetes and Ramadan’ was produced by MyWay Digital Health in response to the increased risk of serious health complications faced by Muslim people with diabetes who wish to fast.
Many of these complications, which include low blood sugar, diabetic ketoacidosis and dehydration, can be mitigated by good self-management, awareness of the risks around fasting and diet, and adjusting medication. However, many patients lack understanding of these issues and healthcare professionals can fail to appreciate how Ramadan impacts on people with diabetes.
MyWay ran a pilot of the project prior to Ramadan 2022, with both patients and healthcare professionals reporting benefits.
Two free online courses – one aimed at Muslims with diabetes and their families/carers observing Ramadan and the other for healthcare professionals – will take place on Tuesday 7 and Wednesday 8 March and can be accessed via https://ramadan.mydiabetes.com/. Other resources include self-directed online content and live Q&A sessions in English, Arabic and Malay.
The company grew out of the My Diabetes My Way (MDMW) app developed by Drs Scott Cunningham and Debbie Wake at the University of Dundee to enable diabetes patients to manage their condition. Self-management has the potential to save health services millions of pounds every year and improve patients’ quality of life.
The dual Diabetes and Ramadan courses were developed by MyWay in partnership with Diabetes and Ramadan International Alliance, a non-profit venture that aims to reduce health inequalities through access to healthcare information.
Other collaborators include the University of Edinburgh (where Dr Wake now works), the University of Putra Malaysia, the British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA), and multiple UK health boards.
Dr Salman Waqar, President of BIMA, said, “The holy month of Ramadan is extremely important to Muslims around the world. It is a month of much benefit but for some people, such as those with diabetes, there are obstacles to navigate.
“It is not only patients who may not know how to best adapt. Doctors, nurses, and other health professionals may not understand all the issues around Ramadan, especially in a country like the UK where Muslims form a minority, and professionals may not have been taught this in their training. Put all together, this can lead to inequalities in how Muslims with diabetes experience healthcare.
“That is why we were delighted to work with MyWay Digital Health on this project and to help address disparities.”
MDMW was launched in 2008 to provide patients with an accessible means of managing their routine care and contains multimedia resources for diabetes education, online learning courses and offers access to electronic personal health records to facilitate personalised advice.
MDMW now has over 62,000 registrants across Scotland and the MyWay Digital health spinout is expanding to develop the service for use in healthcare systems in other countries.
Most of the knowledge surrounding diabetes has been accumulated from studying white populations with Western European ancestry, despite diabetes in Europeans being very different to how the disease presents itself in other racial groups.
The University of Dundee is deeply involved in global efforts to address the resulting health inequalities. In one example, researchers from its School of Medicine identified distinct forms of type 2 diabetes in South Asians, a development with important implications for prognosis and management of the disease.
Senior Public Affairs Officer
+44 (0)1382 384768G.Hill@dundee.ac.uk