The DIL Walk Foundation (DWF) is a not for profit organization dedicated to increasing the awareness of chronic disease, such as CAD, COPD, and congestive heart failure, using a unique primary prevention approach.
Coronary Artery Disease is one of the leading causes of death in Canada and worldwide, within this ethnic populations, such as South Asians are at even higher risk. Multiple studies of migrant South Asian populations have confirmed a 3- to 5-fold increase in the risk for myocardial infarction and cardiovascular death as compared with other ethnic groups. It raises this important health issue and organizes free screening for participants to get their blood pressure, blood sugar and other risk factors tested.
Other vulnerable groups include women, children and refugees. Today, more women die of heart disease than men. 25,000 women die from heart disease in Canada every year. This means 1 women EVERY 20 minutes in Canada, dies from heart disease. DIL Walk develops specific educational resources targeting women to further help increase the awareness and decrease the risk. DIL Walk Foundation is unique in that it uses a grass roots approach to help empower community members to take an active role in their own health, and focuses on building capacity.
The DIL Walk Foundation has successfully developed strategies, tools and resources, including DIL Walk passport, DIL Walk Magazine and Public Service Announcements to care for these populations that are often misunderstood or missed. The most recent remarkable achievement of this organization has been to establish a University of Calgary research chair focusing its efforts on South Asian health.
The timing is imperative for the Foundation. “Approximately 30 per cent of Albertans report having at least one chronic health condition and that number increases to over 75 per cent if you are 65 years of age or older. It’s projected that by 2031, one in five Albertans will be a senior which will increase the demand on our health care system to manage more chronic disease. These stats highlight the importance of providing support and education around chronic disease management to Albertans across the province,” as stated by Alberta Health Services. With the growing burden of chronic disease, the medical and public health communities need to re-examining opportunities for more effective prevention and management of chronic disease.
DIL Walk Foundation encourages community engagement by providing opportunities to improve the quality of life of individuals within their community, and build capacity. By supporting free, monthly sessions for community members to come and listen to local professionals speak about specific health topics, enhances the quality of life of community members attending, DIL Walk Foundation serves community members who face challenges related to poverty, ethnicity, age, education, income or those facing mental or physical barriers, by providing them a space to come get advice, get supports from peers, or simply learn about programs already available in the community around them. DWF believes in linking back to pre-existing resources and programs and acts as a bridge for community members to learn about resources available for them to access