Visually impaired calls for writing inscriptions on medicine packs in braille too

Some visually-impaired persons in Tamale have appealed to drugs manufacturing companies and importers in Ghana to ensure that inscriptions on medicine packs are also written in braille to enable them identify such medicines to prevent their abuse.

They said that when inscriptions on medicine packs were written in braille, it would also help them to know the expiry dates of such drugs so that they would not consume them wrongly to worsen their plight.

They said this became necessary because they always did not have people around them to tell them that the particular drug they were to take was what they really needed to take.

They made the appeal when the Ghana News Agency interacted with them in Tamale to learn about some of their challenges and what should be done to address them.

Braille is a form of written language for blind people, in which characters are represented by patterns of raised dots that are felt with the fingertips.

Inscriptions on most medicine packs in the country are not written in braille to make it easy for the blind to read even though there is a growing number of visually-impaired people in the country.

Mr Mohammed Awal Abdulai, Northern Regional Secretary of Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations, said ensuring that inscriptions on medicine packs were also in braille would enable the visually-impaired to know the particular drug when nobody was around to assist them.

Mr Abdulai emphasised that “This will enable us to know the particular drug in case nobody is around to assist us. I will be able to know this is paracetamol or some other different drug. If it is not in braille, I can mistakenly take a different one in place of another.”

He added that “I nearly took another drug but because I was not sure, I decided to wait for somebody to come around. It is also important because of the expiry date, so that when I buy a medicine, I will know the expiry date.”

Madam Sahadatu Nima Abubakari, Vice President, Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations, Northern Region, said “When you are visually-impaired and they give you medicine, you do not know the kind of medicine you are taking, and aside that you do not even know the dosage, you mislead yourself”.

Madam Abubakari said there had been an instance where she nearly took a different drug for a different ailment, saying this underscored the need for the inscriptions to also be in braille.

Mrs Rhoda Appiah, Head of Communications and Public Education at the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) described the concerns of the visually-impaired as important, adding that it was an eye-opener and must be taken on board.

Mrs Appiah, however, said currently, there was no regulation binding drugs manufacturers to put inscriptions on medicine packs into braille and indicated that she would raise the issue at Management meeting of the FDA to see what could be done about it.

Source: GNA

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