Press Release

Minister Lenihan launches the Health Awareness Week at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland in Clonskeagh

Mr. Brian Lenihan T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children today (5th March 2003) launched a Health Awareness Week at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland in Clonskeagh.

In his speech Mr. Lenihan acknowledged that while the changing social fabric of Ireland is making this country a more cosmopolitan society many nationalities experience difficulties associated with new language, culture and systems. He stated that “The new phenomena of immigration and increasing diversity present a challenge to those working in health promotion and the health service, in seeking innovative ways of engaging with various populations”. These difficulties can lead to inequalities of access and information for individuals.

The Islamic Cultural Centre´s Health Awareness Week is a collaborative effort between the Centre and three of the country’s health boards. The week involves a serious of lectures and “Human MOTs”, and its main aims are to raise awareness of health among the Muslim community, strengthen health networks and allow individuals to examine their own health behaviours and lifestyles.

It is estimated that approximately 15,000 Muslims live in Ireland today, yet little information exists on the health of the Islamic population in Ireland. The Cultural Centre, a focus for support and networking among the Muslim community aims to take an important step to overcoming health barriers faced by Muslims in Ireland today.

Minister Lenihan praised the Cultural Centre and the health boards involved for their inter-sectoral, partnership approach to enhancing health, stating that the Health Awareness Week “exemplifies the necessary approach and direction of health promotion and indeed, community action in general”.

The Islamic Cultural Centre’s Health Awareness Week will run from 6th March to 9th March.