N18 Exploring the experiences of UK-dwelling Bangladeshi native language-speaking patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease: preliminary findings from a qualitative study

Ahmed, S.(1);Singh, H.(2,3);Newton, P.(1)*;Ojo, O.(1);Dibley, L.(1);

(1)University of Greenwich, Institute for Lifecourse Development, London, United Kingdom;(2)Research Champion with CCUK, None, Hatfield, United Kingdom;(3)Expert by Experience with Guts UK, None, London, United Kingdom;


Native language-speaking patients with IBD may be underserved by an Anglo-centric delivery of healthcare in multicultural communities. We explored experiences of IBD Bangladeshi patients living in the UK whose preferred languages were Bengali or Sylheti.


Bangladeshi patients aged 18 years+, with confirmed diagnosis of Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis, who fully or mostly spoke Bengali or Sylheti, were recruited from IBD infusion clinics. Semi-structured individual phone interviews with a bilingual researcher (captured February-May 2021) were audio-recorded, translated and transcribed professionally, and analysed thematically.


The eight participants were aged 34-52 years; 4 (50%) females; with Crohn’s disease (n=3), ulcerative colitis (n=5). They spoke no English (n=2), Standard Bengali (n=8), and/or Sylheti (n=6); they could read Bengali and some English (n=5), Bengali only (n=2), or neither (n=1). Four early themes emerged:

The impact of socioeconomic factors: Health inequalities pervaded participants’ experiences. They lived in a deprived London borough in multiple occupancy and/or multi-generational households, often with just one toilet. Those on low incomes had limited access to health-maintaining resources such as diet and medications.

The importance of understanding and being understood in their native language: Issues with translation of health information and interpretation in health settings were reported. Participants struggled to explain their experiences of and concerns about IBD to clinicians; having a clinician who understood their position enabled needs and concerns to be better addressed.

Understanding the condition and its chronic nature: Few participants had a good lay understanding of IBD and did not comprehend why it was only ‘being managed rather than cured’ by clinicians. Some distrusted Western medicine, believing that treatment would be better, and curative, in their native country. Family, friends, and the wider Bangladeshi community did not understand IBD and its effects.

Day-to-day self-management experienced as a burden: Self-management tasks impinged on day-to-day activities, disrupting cultural and religious pursuits. Toileting, food practices and medication management all impacted negatively on personal and family social relationships and events, and on the ability to work.


Wider socioeconomic factors preceded and affected participant’s resources and ability to self-manage their condition. Language barriers fostered poor understanding of IBD and its chronic nature. Improved translation and interpretation assistance, alongside community-based initiatives to ameliorate health inequalities and improve access to health resources, would benefit this community.