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Patient Educ Couns. 2001 Nov;45(2):87-99.

The evaluation of pharmaceutical pictograms in a low-literate South African population.

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  • 1Faculty of Pharmacy, Rhodes University, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa.


An inability to read and understand written medication instructions may be a major contributory factor to non-compliance in certain patient populations, particularly in countries with a high illiteracy rate such as South Africa. Twenty three pictograms from the USP-DI and a corresponding set of 23 locally developed, culturally sensitive pictograms for conveying medication instructions were evaluated in 46 Xhosa respondents who had attended school for a maximum of 7 years. Respondents were tested for their interpretation of all 46 pictograms at the first interview and again 3 weeks later. The correct meaning of each pictogram was explained at the end of the first interview. Preference for either the Local or USP pictograms was determined. At the follow-up interview, 20 of the Local pictograms complied with the ANSI criterion of >/=85% comprehension, compared with 11 of the USP pictograms. Respondents indicated an overwhelming preference for the Local pictograms.

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